dianella

A dessert of Dianella and mixed berries

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Dianella caerulea (blue flax-lilly) produces bright blue/purple berries.
Dianella caerulea (blue flax-lilly) produces bright blue/purple berries.

We’ve extensively planted Dianella Caerulea (Blue Flax-Lilly) throughout our native back garden, and in our verge gardens. It’s tough, drought hardy, and fast growing.

It also produces delicate blue flowers, which then grow into bright blue/purple berries.

These are a native bush food.
These are a native bush food, with an enjoyable flavour.

These are a native bush food, with a pleasant, if not overly strong flavour.

One afternoon's modest harvest of berries.
One afternoon’s modest harvest of berries.

I picked a good harvest of them one afternoon, supplemented by takings from our raspberry and blueberry plants.

Delicious berries with yoghurt and  honey from on own hives.
Mixed berries with yoghurt and honey from on own hives.

Together, they made a delicious dessert, when combined with greek yoghurt and our own honey.

A feast for both the eyes and mouth!

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Digging up the last of our nature strip

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The last patch of grass in the nature strip alongside our house.
The last patch of grass in the nature strip alongside our house.

Soon after we moved into our house in Lewisham, we dug up a section of the nature strip, and planted citrus trees and herbs. While three of the citrus were immediately stolen, we continued to build up the strip in front of our door, until it was lush and vibrant.

A year ago, we pulled up another section of the nature strip, and native plantings quickly took over.

As it turns out, the local council would actually prefer us to pull up little sections of grass, rather than leave them squeezed in amongst other plantings. This makes life easier for the council staff who do the mowing, and helps to reduce the cost of maintaining the streets.

So with just one piece of grass left between the two sets of plantings, we sorted that out this last weekend.

Nothing but bare earth now!
Nothing but bare earth now!

The process of pulling out the grass is easier than it looks. The roots are shallow, so some mattock work lifts out chunks of grass. It’s then just a matter of digging through the soil to get out as many remnant grass roots as possible.

I then topped it up with some spare soil, and added a little native plant fertiliser.

I’ve been growing a number of native plants from cuttings, so these provided the start of what should become a thick bushy area. Plants include mint bushes (prostanthera), correas, dianellas, and a number of ground covers (including pigface). (We planted the grevillea six months ago.)

The start of what should become a thick and bushy strip of native plants.
The start of what should become a thick and bushy strip of native plants.

I collected some free mulch from the local council nursery, and the end result looks rather good I think. Over the next month I’ll finish off the plantings, and by then I’m expecting the seedlings to start putting on some serious growth.

Another piece of grass replaced by native plants, yay!

Planting natives into our verge

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Just starting to pull out the first of the grass
Just starting to pull out the first of the grass

When we first moved into the house, we brought with us a bay tree that was living in a pot. One of our first actions was to guerrilla garden this into the verge, along with a lemon-scented tea tree (Leptospermum Petersonii). They’ve been happily growing there for the last 3+ years.

Inspired by the Council’s recent efforts, we decided to take the next step, and to strip out all the grass in the strip of verge.

This was surprisingly easy to do with a mattock, and the grass was all out in a little over an hour.

We then planted in a mix of hardy natives:

  • Lomandra longifolia
  • Lomonda hystrix
  • Dianella caerulea
  • Pennisetum advena ‘Rubrum’
  • Grevillea

It’s not much to look at right now, but give it six months and it will be lush bush pocket!

Give it a bit of time to grow, and it will look great.
Give it a bit of time to grow, and it will look great.

Our native back garden: the before shot

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The “before shot” of our back garden, with seedlings planted for our mini native bush block.

With our vege patch humming along, and the renovation finished, the next project is the back yard.

We’re creating a native garden, with a “surburban bush” feel. In time, we should be able to look out through our back windows to a dense green mini-forest.

The back garden is somewhat shaded, with patches of sun throughout the day. So the “typical” Australian plants — which mostly require full sun — are out.

The photo above is the “before shot”, with the first batch of seedlings going in. This includes a pile of:

  • correa
  • crowea
  • boronia
  • prostanthera
  • dianella
  • lomandra
  • cordyline
  • various ferns

We’ll report back with a “after” photo at the end of summer, hopefully with a lot of green and not much brown!