Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Transforming my verge

My verge alternated between dry sandy desert (besides the few hardy weeds that manage to eke out an existence) in summer and a lush meadow of onion weed in winter.

Fed up with the situation, I ordered a free load of mulch from MulchNet and they certainly delivered (both literally and figuratively).  I was very amused to return home one day to discover a mountain of mulch on the verge.

As an aside, the amazing thing about the mountain was that it transformed into a "volcano" the very next day!

The large volume of the pile, the fact that the plant material was in small chips and the natural microbes and fungi meant that it started composting.  The cool weather meant that there was a distinct plume of "smoke" (water vapour) emitting from the top of the pile!  The thermometer read a toasty 38oC just under the surface of the pile.

After spreading half of the mulch pile in a thick layer over the verge (family, neighbours and the rest of my garden took up the other half), the verge project basically ended - the weeds were smothered and I had other things to do.

And so, the woodchips have been decomposing over the past year.

Until recently, when fellow Transition Town Mt Hawthorn member Lisa inspired me to progress the verge.

Lisa had transformed her own verge with the aid City of Vincent's of the "Adopt a verge" program.  She also told me about a local native plant sale (also run by City of Vincent).  With Lisa's (who was a working volunteer at the plant sale) and my 2 year old son's help, we picked seventeen tube stocks for $1 each.

Armed with a shovel, I transformed my nice flat bed of mulch into a cratered moon-like landscape.

Happy with the new look, I put the baby plants into their new homes and gave them a drink of water. (The craters do have a purpose - they act as a well to funnel water to the young plant. However, they also funnel leaves that I've been picking out so that the little plants aren't smothered).

The horticulturist at the plant sale said to give them two drinks in the first week, followed by a drink a week for the next month.  I think I will give the plants a drink a week until next winter, just to help them establish over the summer.

These are my objectives for planting natives:
  1. Low maintenance beauty, and
  2. Food source and shelter for birds and insects (which will hopefully benefit my productive garden).
I hope all the plants will survive but will be happy with a 50% mortality rate.  Hopefully in two years time, there will be some lush bushes with birds and butterflies harbouring in my verge.

I will blog about this again in a few months time to show how it's going

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

21 August FREE seminar on 'Solar Design in a Changing Climate'

Please come along to our next seminar on Thursday 21 August at the Mt Hawthorn Community Centre, Lesser Hall from 6:30 for a 7pm start.
Hear Gerard Siero speak about  'Solar Design in a Changing Climate':

    "Gerard Siero is an ecological architect with 43 years industry experience, on projects ranging from ecological planning to public buildings, schools and housing, emphasising ecological design for sustainability, economy, life and delight, in thoughtful architecture integrated with landscape.  His practice has been based in Perth since 1985. 

    In nearly 10 years as WA Manager of Archicentre - Ask an Architect, through hundreds of media articles, lectures and presentations, Gerard became a trusted building industry voice and consumer advocate, advising on architecture, housing and sustainability issues.  GĂ©rard continues to educate on and explore sustainable, climate-responsive architecture, construction, planning and landscape, with an ecological perspective. 

    Architecture celebrates humanity and life - "Design with nature, design for Life".  Sites and clients are unique.  The aim is to create a place that reflects genius loci and the inhabitants, and harmonises the opportunities and challenges of the project towards creating something life giving, functional and beautiful.

    Gerard grew up in a beautiful, forested valley with a creek, cascades and waterfalls, alive with flowers, insects and animals - a sacred place, in the Aboriginal sense of the word… until a developer bulldozed everything, laying out spaghetti streets for ticky-tacky houses.  Appalled, Gerard’s life journey since has focussed on exploring better ways of relating and working with the Earth, by design, through organic architecture, sustainability and now PhD studies in ecological urbanism at UWA.

    Becoming a grandfather extends one’s perspective.  I care about “the children of all species for all time”.  Gerard’s community and professional activities have included the Australian Institute of Architects, Anglican EcoCare and church ministries, Kidsafe, Perth City Vision, Australian Earth Laws Alliance, Archicentre, Dads at Lifeline, speaking and music. 

    In studying the ecological and social crises we now face: climate, habitat and biodiversity losses, rather than disaster, Gerard sees ours as a time of amazing opportunity, of reconnection, relationship, equity, justice and wholeness … transforming our society and economy into life-giving relationships with the Earth and each other!"

Come along from 6:30 for a 7pm start. Please bring a plate of food to share. Refreshments will be provided. This is a free event, your donation is appreciated to cover the room hire.

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