When we bought our house in late 2001, our backyard had a neat lawn, some newly planted federation daisies, and an eclectic collection of bits and pieces – a small sick apple tree, a few umbrella plants, lots of aggies and diosma, and a thicket of rampant ivy. Also a bare brick garage wall, a decrepit fence, and very close neighbours.
We left the yard alone for two years, until we were ready to renovate, then dug up and gave away anything that could be salvaged. Anyone who has ever lived through a renovation will know why.
In mid-2004 we started to put it back together. The land is on a very slight downward slope towards the back of the block, but the soil had been piled up against the fence so the backyard actually sloped upwards. Here we were thinking “bit of paving, bit of garden edging”… but no, the soil had to be levelled. Five tiptruck loads were removed. We ended up with a blank slate:
and then the bare bones of a garden:
The round bed is for my herbs; with walls and fences on all sides, I gave them the sunniest spot in the yard.
We painted the fences and wall, and planted “Summer Red” eucalypts, westringia, heliotrope, Mexican sage, dietes grandiflora, Salvia gregii alba, buddleja and cistus, among other things. By this time, I’d made my first round of mistakes out in the front garden, so the plants in the backyard are tougher and have stayed the distance.
and spring 2008:
The purple-flowering tree is a Paulownia “Powton Sapphire Dragon” which shot up to this size in about 2 years. Its growth has slowed down during the past few dry years.
The herb patch
And one last shot from today. The gums have been blooming for months; the white salvias, which flower like crazy for 9 months, are due for cutting back.