Winter Workshops & Permablitzes

Good morning gardeners,

I’m sure I’m not the only one torn between enjoying the unseasonal July warmth and worrying that I shouldn’t really be this warm when we’ve only just passed the solstice. Hearing willy wagtails declaring their intention to nest nearby and magpies jostling for territory, seeing rogue apples setting fruit when they should be dormant… all in all the season feels scrambled.

But there hasn’t been much time to dwell on this, with so much productive climate action going on. In between Trees for Life planting, Trees x 10 planning and drawing trees into home garden designs, I’ve been collaborating to prepare a workshop –“Perennial Plants and Resilient Human Habitats” – focused on how we suburban dwellers can use trees and other perennials in climate mitigation and adaptation, with Permaculture SA.

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Posted in climate change, community, courses, events, microclimates, permaculture principles, planning, planting, resilient gardening, winter, workshops

Trees x 10…

Yesterday I was passing through Oaklands Estate Reserve at Marion. I paused to wonder what life would be like if, instead of navigating by the roads and railway lines, numbed by our devices, we instead found our way by the old landscape that’s still there underneath – the creeks and rivers; the trees that line their ancient floodplains; the soils and the plants they nurture; the rhythmic migrations of the birds and animals. To keep this land that we depend on alive and well, we need to find our way back to nature’s reality. The map, as has so often been said, really is not the territory. This city of squares that we have slapped over the landscape is not one that can sustain life for very long unless it respects the nature of the earth on which it sits.

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Along the way I met this old eucalypt, cradling a young olive tree in her branches. She offered me a seat where I could look out over the regenerating landscape. She reminded me that no matter where we come from, we are held and nurtured here by the land of the Kaurna people. The people and the land have shaped each other for thousands of years, in a relationship of love and respect. We can all be part of this loving, respectful connection with land.

I walked on, and next I found this dedication to the trees and their history, so beautifully connecting past and present:

“…This place has old stories that make you want to rest your head and listen… This place remembers all the knowledge sharing and peacemakers…” I felt as though another tentative root had reached out from me and found the sacred groundwater that had been waiting there all along.

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Last night, I joined my classmates at the conclusion of the City of Marion’s Community Leadership Course. We celebrated the courage we had unearthed, the projects we had birthed, and the affirming guidance we had received.

Today and all the tomorrows, through all the doubts and fears that visit again and again, may we remember the old trees that anchor us in this place, and go on growing together, taking our place among the knowledge sharers and the peacemakers.


Trees x 10 is an emerging project for local communities to rapidly restore tree canopy and diversify vegetation across the suburbs of Adelaide. There is no mailing list yet – please follow one of the sources below if you’d like to stay connected or become involved in activities:

  • Little updates will be on Nadja’s Garden facebook page, until the Trees x 10 facebook page is ripe.
  • Big updates will be on the Trees x 10 page of this website.

Garden guide posts are currently on hold while I’m dedicating time to this project, but the blog archive is full of monthly posts from recent years for your reference – search by month or by subject, or just scroll back through the ‘News’ page.

Posted in community, permaculture design, trees, winter

Plants to Survive the Heat

Welcome to another week-long heatwave in Adelaide. 

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Is your garden getting tired of this? Are you too tired to be gardening!? Continue reading

Posted in climate change, fruit, hanging out in the garden, heatwaves, microclimates, planning, resilient gardening, summer, trees

Feb-March in Garden and Elsewhere

Dear Adelaideans and nearby gardeners,

I hope that, like ours, a little rain has reached your patch this week after our dry, dry, dry, bone-dry January! That little bit will have to stretch a long way as it sounds like March-April may remain a little more summery than they used to. The upside – more warmth to give the heat-loving plants a growing season – but at the same time it could be the last straw for anything that’s missing out on irrigation – I’m thinking road verge trees and shrubs, bush areas etc. So if you can spare a drink for a thirsty tree nearby, go for it.

Consultation and design work is back into full swing, everywhere from the Barossa to Carrickalinga, with a tiny city balcony in between (what fun that is!).

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72.7 degrees C on the sunny paving, as Adelaide reached 46 degrees C.

In this episode, my focus is largely outside our Mediterranean-climate garden and into the arid zone to our north, that is slowly but surely stretching in our direction. Continue reading

Posted in climate change, community, Food, heatwaves, microclimates, summer, trees, vegetables

January Garden Guide & What’s On…

And just like that, it’s another new year. Another loop around that great flaming ball of gas that keeps us going and our gardens growing but sometimes seems about to fry us alive. More on that later…

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White peach tree with VegeNet cover, tied under the canopy.

The top comments I keep hearing from Adelaide gardeners this month are:

  1. Everything grew so much this spring!
  2. Then the lorikeets ate everything, or…
  3. Something else ate everything but I’m not sure what it was!

Continue reading

Posted in permaculture design

December (what, already?) Garden Guide

This week the permaculture principleCreatively use and respond to change‘ has been slowly distilling its way through my experiences and into consciousness. Like all the principles, it’s applicable on so many levels that often just as I recognise an example of it in the garden, it suddenly seems relevant to a few other things that are going on in life as well.

This week’s gusty winds brought their share of unexpected change to Adelaide homes and gardens, and I suspect they were at least partly responsible for shaking up a few humans and their connections at the same time. While the level of shelter in our garden kept damage to a minimum, the unripe stone fruits were substantially thinned out, a tall and flappy white shahtoot mulberry tree nearly lost its footing when its supporting straps gave way, and two ageing eremophila bushes were blown over. Continue reading

Posted in permaculture design

Learning, learning, learning…

I used to be so daunted by gardening and by my lack of instinct for it – then learnt that it’s just a lifelong learning process, and now I can’t get enough of it. Here’s a bunch of learning resources for you to enjoy right now in Adelaide!! Get looking and booking.

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1. Want to get serious about growing subtropical fruits and citrus? Ready to learn how to graft your own trees? Sally will teach you how, in the delicious spring surrounds of Glenelg North Community Garden, TOMORROW, 17 November at 12.30. TICKETS: $20 – includes a baby white sapote tree to graft and take home!
Email sally.osterstock@gmail.com or Ph 0438 512 389.

 

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2. Basics of permaculture and how to get your garden organised to produce more than you imagined you could: “A Taste of Suburban Permaculture” – right here at our home garden in Warradale on Saturday 24 November from 10am.  It’s a small group workshop with lots to see, taste, collect and explore. TICKETS: $30 includes home-made morning tea. Seeds also available for sale on the day. (Probably the last weekend workshop I’ll squeeze into this year.)

3. The Very Next Day… Sunday 25th November: Learn how to grow vegetables really, really well at “Growing Great Veggies” with Steven Hoepfner of Wagtail Urban Farm and Nat Wiseman of Village Greens of Willunga Creek. These guys combine deep organic market gardening knowledge and experience with great teaching skills, practical tips, live demonstration, soil science and fun. Hosted at the amazing Joe’s Connected Garden.      TICKETS: $65 / $20 concession

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4. Finally, filmed at Wagtail Urban Farm, here’s Steven’s tips on prepping veg beds with complete organic fertiliser and compost.

This is how he grows the best veg in town. Enjoy!

 

 

Posted in permaculture design