Permablitz #189 – Essendon
Bringing Soul, Vibes and Seedlings to Essendon
Spring has arrived in Melbourne with warmer weathers and sunny days, now is the perfect time for backyard blitzes. Lesley and John with 5-year-old twins Luke and Erin welcomed 15 Permablitz volunteers to their Essendon property on Sunday.
The brief was to – reinvigorate and re-vegetate the existing back and front yards keeping the lawn space for the kids.
John said they couldn’t physically do it without the help of the volunteers and the turn out was perfect — despite the ten less people than they had expected.
The lead facilitator, or “Permie”, Tyson Dickinson had been working with Lesley and John for four months, a bit longer than usual blitzes. The plans went back and forth a number of times until everyone was happy with the result – including the kids who made sure the fairy garden had a place in the plans.
Some of the modifications to the existing garden were: the removal of a shade structure on the east side of the back yard. With the back yard facing south, it was important to consider how to let in as much sun as possible – that is, if you want a thriving garden patch. By removing the shade structure, this will allow the morning sun to enter as it wraps around the house. Lattice was placed in its place and will soon be covered with edible vines.
Permie TIP: Site Analysis – When planning a garden, first draw a map of the existing features of your garden on paper, and write down the external climate factors. Where is the morning and evening sun? Where is the shade? Do I get frost? Then, with an open mind, ask — what can be removed or moved to suit your planting desires?
Once the shade structure was removed, new planter beds went in its place; bluestone rock formed the edges of the beds and formed a nice feature to the yard. The bluestone was sourced from a few locations around Melbourne, Lesley coyishly explained.
Other activities included restarting the worm farm, replenishing the garden beds, adding nutrients to the compost and converting the atrium to a feature fairy garden — set with a Japanese maple, fairy lights, succulents and edible natives.
Permablitz facilitator Austin Tseng provided a workshop on the planting requirements of a few select Australian natives and succulents, before converting the atrium to a fairy wonderland.
The atrium is soon to be thriving with warrigal greens, yam daisies (an indigenous native, that has taken nurseries by the storm since Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu – a must read), dragonfruit, pig-face, river mint — tolerably placed directly into the water pot.
The large roof space will now be utilised to capture and store water; with a north sloping roof, they placed two small tanks at the front of the house where a pipe will be attached to the gutter to divert the water and used on the new vege patch.
Volunteers come with all different skills and are happy to share their knowledge. When the watering hose got caught, one person yelled out “where’s the plumber?” One of his less stressful Sunday call-outs perhaps! One volunteer, Shurbi said it’s hard to meet so many like-minded people anywhere else which is why she keeps returning.
Not to mention the amazing food – vegetable curry and mini pies, followed by baked cheesecake and orange flourless cake! Delicious. All of which was allergy-considered, dietary conscious and homemade by Lesley and old friend Heidi, who had introduced her to the Permablitz concept.
What next for Lesley and John? “Let it all sink in for a bit…” they said.
Click here to see the full photo gallery from this blitz!