Home maintenance while travelling

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 11:58
ThreadID: 12252 Views:1318 Replies:3 FollowUps:2
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We plan to travel for up to 10 weeks at a time, and would like to come home to a garden that is still healthy, and do not want to rely on anyone to maintain it.

We have recently planted native gardens in raised beds (about 35cm), with no "soil", just rock and crushed sandstone. We also have several native shrubs and trees planted directly into black soil around the yard.

We have not installed an inground dripper system as our garden is watered by ground water and we turn the pump off when we go away.

When the plants and trees have well-established root systems (say 18 months) we hope to leave them unwatered while we travel.

We live in country NSW where the rainfall is irregular.

I would be interested in hearing from travellers who have left gardens to their own devices, and the results, and also from anyone who might have tips to implement in the initial stages of a native garden with the aim of self maintenance (note: I do not want to mulch).........Thanks

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Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 18:37

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 18:37
Gld i thought I was going to answer your question until I read the last sentance were you dont want to mulch.
I was going to say give it a good mulch and she should be ok.
With the mowing depending on time of year ask a local kid to do it or mower bloke slip the kid a few bucks and he will be happy.

good luck
Eric
AnswerID: 55368

Follow Up By: GLD - Friday, Apr 23, 2004 at 12:38

Friday, Apr 23, 2004 at 12:38
Thanks Eric

I have mulched trees and shrubs around the yard with compost, but as my gardens are totally made from rock and sand, mulch would only make a mess when it started to decompose as it is a no dig garden. The surface of the gardens forms a crust when dry and keeps moisture in. I have inserted black poly pipe to the root area of each plant with enough showing to dribble the hose into to get the water to where it is needed without waste. Is all working well while we are at home but will be travelling for a month late winter so will find out how it will do unattended.
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FollowupID: 317506

Reply By: Member - glenno (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 21:58

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 21:58
When you say "native gardens" do you mean grevilleas etc . I have a small garden which is mulched with gravel and i never water them . However these grevilleas are western australian and grafted and i find that no water or fertiliser is needed but have to be sung to for 30 minutes every morning to stop them from dying . On the other hand my collection of native plants from tropical australian rainforests such as daintree penda doesnt need to be watered either . However red silky oak needs to be watered every five minutes . What i am trying to say is "native gargens" as they are called are generally not (plant and forget gardens) but need just as much care as any other garden .
AnswerID: 55406

Follow Up By: GLD - Friday, Apr 23, 2004 at 12:45

Friday, Apr 23, 2004 at 12:45
glenno, thanks

My natives include grivelleas, banksias, bottlebrushes, kangaroo paws, heath plants, paper daisies, grass trees, grasses etc.etc. (nothing tropical)

I'm sure if I sung to my plants, they'd just keel over so they wouldn't have to endure it the next day!!!!

I imagine many of the "natives" these days are hybrids and grafted plants, so might be a bit more temperamental than true natives, but so far (three months) are looking good. Although I have two grafted gum trees that are not handling the recycled onsite waste water very well - it will be trial and error I guess.
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FollowupID: 317507

Reply By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 23:07

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 23:07
My garden gets left to its own devices even when I'm at home. We have established natives all around and they never get a drink from the hose. Don't give them too much water in the initial stages, just enough to keep them going. This will encourage deep rooting in seach of moisture as nature intended.
AnswerID: 55412

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