Million Dollar Lane

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Our house was built in the 90s.  In fact most of the houses on our street were built then, and half of them, by the looks of it, were built by the same builder.  Our neighbours' houses (some we have been invited into, and others we have seen though the window of*) have the same blue laminate benchtops, and tas oak cupboard doors.  Our gardens, built on the claggiest of clay soils, are, for the most part, relatively uninspiring.  To improve things, Jon and I replanted one of our garden bed areas with great success a few years ago - we called it "Million Dollar Hill" due to the excessive cost of the native plants we put in.  It's my favourite part of the garden now though.

We have a particular garden bed that I've tried to improve may times over the years. It's right outside Zali and Jett's windows and stretches from almost the fence, to the driveway.  It gets shadow from both the neighbours too-tall hedge/trees and our house, as well as harsh sunlight and frosts.    I planted strawberries one year, but we didn't tend to them and it all got very messsy, I planted azalias but they died straight away, I tried hydrangeas but the hot summer days killed them. I tried a purple and white themed english country style random planting of flowers (from seeds), but only the ones that looked like weeds came up, I tried bulbs - and they were ok the bed still looked bad the rest of the year. I did have a nice lavandar bush there for a while but Jon pruned it back to the dead wood and from then on it looked awful.  I finally tried just having weed matting topped by mulch - at least in the shady end - and that was actually quite successful.  In the meantime the sunny end of the bed just grew weeds and dead grass.

So a few weeks ago I looked at the weedy eyesore of a garden, and decided I had to do something drastic. I just wasn't sure what. I ummed and ahhed and chatted with Jon and we thought about making it into a more curvey bed with new edging - part of the problem is it is very long and narrow so we were thinking that two shorter, more naturaly curving beds would be better. Unfortunately after some googling it turned out that a nice edgeing material (blocks, or metal edging) would cost more than $600. Dang.   

So then we decided to simply take out the bed and the existing pine log edging, and return the area to grass that would at least be nice and green and could be mowed. But it turned out I couldn't remove the edging logs nicely (I wanted to re-use them). I either had to destroy them with a sledge hammer (which we don't own), or think of a new plan.  We thought of something new. Using what we had around the house, I spent a few hours one saturday making it possible for the bed to be more level (by putting another log's worth of edging on the downhill side), then I spent hours over the next week (every evening after work) carting the excavated clay (from the non-suite), around from the back garden and plonking it in the bed, to change it from an downward sloping inverted garden bed, into something convex with nice contour features.   Then I sourced a lot of rocks from my secret location…so by the end of Saturday, I had a garden bed full of mounds of clay soil, and rocks, and a sore back, and a wheel barrow with a very dodgy wheel from all the trips.

The previous weekend, after our grass backflip, Jon and I went to visit a nursery in Ridgeway called 'Plants of Tasmania', and sure enough, it had a lot of native plants of Tasmania! It even had button grass (the enemy of the tasmanian bushwalker!)  It also had a lot of tube-stock - i.e. small plants that only cost $3 rather than $14 for something larger. Since I am suspicious that a lot of these things will die once their roots touch our clay, I didn't want to invest $500 in large plants right off the bat. So we got heaps of help from the staff person,  and left an hour later with enough plants to cover our 15m length of the bed..  


So on Sunday morning, after orienteering, the whole family set to work placing and planting our plants.. It was fun!  


And now a week later, after much watering and admiring, everything has settled down and is looking really nice. It's certianly a much nicer view for Zali and Jett to look out of their bedroom windows onto.    


The stepping stone dry-creek-bed feature is a family favourite, and funnily enough completely unplanned - it was just that I didn't have enough length of pine log as I raised the downhill side of the edging - so I had a gap. Which then became the track through the bed!

So we now have Million Dollar Hill, which still thrives, and Million Dollar Lane. So many riches!

*Not in a creepy way, just in a walking past / glance in  type of way
Christmassy Photos Friday, 30 December 2016
Noosa - Day 5 Thursday, 15 December 2016
Noosa - Day 4 Tuesday, 13 December 2016
Noosa - Day 3 Monday, 12 December 2016
Noosa - Day 2 Sunday, 11 December 2016
Noosa - Day 1 Sunday, 11 December 2016
Being Bothered Pays Off. Sunday, 11 December 2016
Swimming tour of Brisbane part 2 Sunday, 11 December 2016
Paver Project Wednesday, 23 November 2016
Swimming tour of Brisbane Wednesday, 23 November 2016
The end of an era Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Snowvember Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Tramp-a-bag Monday, 31 October 2016
Mt Wellington Monday, 31 October 2016
Online Only Challenge Monday, 31 October 2016
3 Capes Monday, 10 October 2016
Packing Regrets Wednesday, 5 October 2016
Fantasy Amazing Race Tuesday, 4 October 2016
Before and After then After that #37 Monday, 3 October 2016
Before and After #36 Zali's Room Take 2 Monday, 3 October 2016
That's DR McComb to you.. Friday, 26 August 2016
'Mrs', 'Miss', or 'Dammed feminist'? Sunday, 14 August 2016
Who is really paying for the bake sale? Friday, 12 August 2016
Running Sunday, 31 July 2016
The Kettering Incident and Why I am the Smartest in the Room Friday, 29 July 2016
Before and After Sneak Peak Tuesday, 26 July 2016
Vacuum Cleaner Update Tuesday, 26 July 2016
How not to go to the movies Tuesday, 12 July 2016
How Not to Sell Vacuum Cleaners Monday, 11 July 2016
Melbourne Mini Break Monday, 27 June 2016
60 Walks Challenge - Walk #35 Thursday, 23 June 2016
Treasure Chest Cake Thursday, 23 June 2016
Shark House! Saturday, 11 June 2016
Before and After #35 - CD Tower to Mirror Tuesday, 31 May 2016
Maths - it could happen to you. Thursday, 19 May 2016
Power Tools Tuesday, 17 May 2016
60 Walks Challenge - Walk #35 Friday, 22 April 2016
Sheffield Rail Trail & Derby Thursday, 21 April 2016
60 Walks Challenge - Walk #34 Wednesday, 20 April 2016
60 Walks Challenge - Walk #31 & #32 & #33 Wednesday, 20 April 2016
60 Walks Challenge - Walk #29 & #30 Tuesday, 19 April 2016
Creatures of Habit Thursday, 7 April 2016
Let me count the ways.. Wednesday, 30 March 2016
Canberra 2016 Friday, 25 March 2016
Un armed.. Wednesday, 16 March 2016
Full day of activities Sunday, 13 March 2016
Dumped Saturday, 12 March 2016
Double Tromble Friday, 11 March 2016
Million Dollar Lane Wednesday, 9 March 2016
2nd International MFSC Tuesday, 8 March 2016
Tip Run Tuesday, 8 March 2016
Blackberry Season Thursday, 3 March 2016
Packed Lunches Wednesday, 2 March 2016
so yeah.. Sunday, 28 February 2016
Cradle Mountain Run Curse Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Last Pictures Tuesday, 9 February 2016
All the kids Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Overland Track - Day 7 Monday, 25 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 6 Monday, 25 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 5 Sunday, 24 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 4 Wednesday, 20 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 3 Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 2 Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 1 Monday, 18 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 0 Sunday, 17 January 2016
Slow Progress Thursday, 14 January 2016
Pakning på, opp og stå, ut og gå Monday, 11 January 2016