A day off and a tour of Angelo’s garden.

I’ve had a date marked in my calendar for a while now, and marked in my brain for 12 months. Angelo from Deep Green Permaculture opened his gardens up for visitors to see this last Saturday and Sunday and I was most keen to check it out. πŸ™‚

Permission was sought and granted for me to leave the kids with Martin and take some time off and we coordinated how we were to run the day as my nephew turned 8 on the Saturday and we had a birthday party to attend Sunday afternoon.

After a night of precious little sleep I headed off to the train station via shanks pony Β to cover the 1.7km walk. I spent the time on the train talking to the V-Line staff about all things gardening and tree-change whilst knitting length into the jumper I’ve been making myself. Then, after a quick coffee I caught the tram out to Angelo’s place. From the tram stop to his house was another short walk of about 500m.

First it needs to be said that Angelo’s garden is tiny! There is a mere 60mΒ² (640Β² feet) yet every spare inch of it (and several inches you would never think would be spare) are filled with plants. And I mean FILLED! Paths are difficult to locate but still easily accessible with a little care to the overhanging plants, and in hiding holes around corners where you would think nothing would or could grow, there are pots and so much more. It’s one of the most exciting gardens I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit.

Before I share my photos, know that Geoff Lawton created a video for Urban Permaculture in Angelo’s garden and if Geoff thinks it’s good then it must indeed be amazing! πŸ™‚ The video is here but you do need to sign up for Geoff’s videos. There aren’t too many that come out and none of them are very long so signing up won’t spam you, I promise. πŸ™‚ Click HERE for the video.

I arrived a little after Angelo started the 11:30am tour but there is no way it could be a tour in the conventional sense. Instead, Angelo stood and spoke, answering questions and more whilst people crowded in to listen.

Yeah, I wasn't getting any closer until some people left.

Yeah, I wasn’t getting any closer until some people left.

Grapes up the wall along with another vine I don't recognise. The thick succulent looking one. Anyone know?

Grapes up the wall along with another vine I don’t recognise.

More grapes and fruit to boot. This is from a potted grape.

More grapes and fruit to boot. This is from a potted grape. And can anyone identify the thick stemmed succulent-looking plant?

And the potted Keriberry looked more than healthy, heading out to meet up with th grapes.

And the potted Keriberry looked more than healthy, heading out to meet up with the grapes.

When I did manage to get in the gate it was like walking into a green oasis. Each square metre was planted out with several different plants. For example, the first garden I saw had a purple cherry tomato with mint, strawberries, a large citrus tree crowded with fruit, a ferny herb I didn’t recognise, a Chilean guavaΒ bush, an unidentified berry and more. The next metre of garden bed was planted with another selection of plants, all different but all growing beautifully together.

The Chilean Guava surrounded with mint and strawberries, a berry, the large citrus (lemon I think) to the south (left), an apple in there too and more.

The Chilean Guava surrounded with mint and strawberries, a berry, the large citrus (lemon I think) to the south (left), an apple in there too and more.

And the purple fruiting cherry tomato in there. It's in a surprising amount of shade but the fruit are beginning to ripen and there were several fruit on the vine so it's doing well.

And the purple fruiting cherry tomato in there. It’s in a surprising amount of shade but the fruit are beginning to ripen and there were several fruit on the vine so it’s doing well.

I saw many plants usually considered tropical and even though Melbourne is a temperate climate they do still see frosts. I can’t count the amount of (presumably dwarf) bananas I saw growing around the place. I also saw other tropical plants including arrowroot, turmeric and members of the ginger family, a dwarf mango and more I can’t remember. Β too. I saw cactuses to cranberries, raspberries to keriberries, bamboo to persimmon, apples and nectarines and peaches and plums as well as grapes, currants, liquorice, hops, tansy, fennel, potatoes, citrus and more. There was a lovely scented rose-bush, vines trailing and reaching for the sky and even the good old Hills Hoist was becoming a dual purpose tool, being grabbed onto by the grapes as they reached for the sun.

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Looking above the tomatoes and mint to the bananas.

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There were nutrient mining plants everywhere. Yarrow here but comfrey was also in abundance.

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Apples

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Greenery greenery everywhere

 

One of the surprising things about the garden is its lack of height. The neighbours have a large olive tree, a huge fig and more yet nothing in Angelo’s garden would have been higher than 7-8 feet and at most the grapes might have reached 10ft up along a wire trellis on the side of the house. Perhaps the potted bamboo might have scraped in at 11ft. Maybe.

A dwarf nectarine. Never bothered by possums as it's too low down and closed in for them to be comfortable. The neighbours taller fruit trees are far more enticing.

A dwarf nectarine. Never bothered by possums as it’s too low down and closed in for them to be comfortable. The neighbours taller fruit trees are far more enticing.

There was very little unused space. This was about the emptiest area I could find.

There was very little unused space. This was about the emptiest area I could find.

A water garden!  Several pots with water plants and tiny fish.

A water garden! Several pots with water plants and tiny fish.

The thing to consider too is that there was also a (very) small area of lawn, a concrete area with table and chairs to enjoy al fresco dining with a sun umbrella over the top, compost bins and more. Yes, Angelo has even fitted this in to his garden space. πŸ™‚

I'm not sure if this is taro or arrowroot. I think it's the latter.

I’m not sure if this is taro or arrowroot. I think it’s the latter.

Lots of tropicals.

Lots of tropical plants.

Persimmons

Persimmons

Paths

Paths.

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A dwarf Mango

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Ginkgo Biloba

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Neem. I haven’t researched this but I imagine it’s where neem oil, a natural pesticide comes from.

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Cardamom or turmeric perhaps? Another tropical.

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These tomato bushes housed several deliciously ripe tomatoes. They’re growing in hydroponic pots.

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The nasturtium growing through here must have been nearly a metre tall!

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Nectarines.

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Yacon or Peruvian ground apples. I have these in my garden too but MUCH smaller. It’s all about soil.

 

Comfrey and kale

Comfrey and kale

Prostrate thyme and a great way to disguise an area of broken or uneven concrete where you could easily trip up.

Prostrate thyme and a great way to disguise an area of broken or uneven concrete where you could easily trip up.

I'm not sure what this is but wondered if it was water chestnuts

I’m not sure what this is but wondered if it was water chestnuts

Roses. Not only beautiful but bee fodder and with a delicious scent.

Roses. Not only beautiful but bee fodder and with a delicious scent.

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Now THIS idea I intend to imitate. These are cranberries, a water-loving acid soil loving ground cover. In a pot the water can easily be maintained without flooding out other plants. Brilliant.

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Plums and plenty of them!

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Every available inch was planted with or covered with something green, growing and useful.

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I’m not sure I’d go this far but I guess I have themΒ growing everywhere here. Yes, this is a hawthorn in a pot!

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Can you count the species here?

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If you can see through the verdant greenery you can see there are a series of paths through here. In a garden where you need to wheelbarrow soil additives in or large loads of produce out, these paths wouldn’t work but in a small garden it is easy enough to navigate with a bucket in hand. And as Angelo practices chop and drop, his soil is beautiful and full of nutrients and mulches.

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I couldn’t identify most of the species in this garden and I reckon I do ok for a self-taught new gardener.

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More yarrow. I really MUST get some into my gardens.

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Currants I think, and a path.

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The compost bin barely visible amidst the greenery and edibles. I imagine these are close to the happiest and best fed plants in the garden. Not that the compost would be much better than the rest of the beautiful soil Angelo has worked hard to create.

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I am a newbie gardener so I have no idea what this stunning flower is. It was about 15cm long and trumpet-shaped.

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We weren’t the only visitors to the garden. There were bees everywhere!

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The asparagus was going to seed but there was a lot of beautiful fernery in there.

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More asparagus and celery in the background (I think).

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There were a few ornamental flowers through the garden too. I saw some osteospermums too.

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Rhubarb.

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Fruit trees under-planted with many different varieties.

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More fruit

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Calendula.

Grapes starting to ripen. The vines curled all around the table and Hills Hoist.

Grapes starting to ripen. The vines curled all around the table and Hills Hoist.

My photos cannot do Angelo’s garden justice. Everywhere you look there is something to look at, edible, medicinal or to help raise the fertility of the soil. This is permaculture at its intense best. I would love the opportunity to be able to sit and study Angelo’s garden, analysing and learning about each plant he has and why. Why A and B are planted with C but not with D and how the garden functions over the seasons. I think the most astounding things about Angelo’s amazing garden is that it still feels amazingly like a work in progress! Yes, even more. πŸ™‚

 

 

 

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22 thoughts on “A day off and a tour of Angelo’s garden.

  1. Jo says:

    That is just magnificent. I have been spending the last few days prowling about my own suburban garden working out where I can fit more food in. This is a very timely and inspiring post! And what a fun day out:)

  2. foodnstuff says:

    It really is such a productive garden, isn’t it? I saw the video with Geoff Lawton some time ago and couldn’t get over how much has been crammed into a small suburban space. How wonderful it would be if every suburban block was like that. I bet all that greenery would do wonders for the heat island effect, not to mention providing 3 meals a day. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yeah, I saw the video a while back too and I’ve been following the blog since. I was stoked to have the opportunity to see it in the flesh though. If every garden was like that then supermarkets would never be able to sell fresh produce again. πŸ˜€

  3. Sarhn says:

    What a wonderful day you had – exploring a new food forest is a great way to spend a day. Thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚

  4. narf77 says:

    That other vine looks decidedly like a sweet potato! I only discovered keriberries recently as an alternative to our cold climate berries. They are apparently much better for hotter climates but would be worth a try and are very hardy. That’s taro in the big black pot first and arrowroot second before the pomegranates (not persimmons but I would be overwhelmed too at all of that food potential!) :). That might be cardamom as turmeric has greener leaves. My yacon came back this year as well and is about the same height as Angelo’s but I am expecting it to shoot up further as the growing season progresses. Mine is just planted in a heap of aged horse manure. I guess they like dung ;). No idea what that water plant is…might have to Google it. I need more herbs in the garden now. I am inspired by Angelo’s amazing garden and dead jealous that I wasn’t able to go. That is a datura flower you are holding. You bought seeds for a purple one if I am not mistaken? They are very hardy and poisonous! I am very excited about all of the mass planting. I keep thinking that my CHAOS theory of gardening must be wrong whenever I look at everyone elses lovely straight rows but Angelo appears to be a man after my own heart and has stuff everywhere. What an exciting garden and how awesome that you were able to go into those hallowed grounds Ms Rabid. You lucky girl you!

    • I always muck up persimmons and pomegranates. Angelo had both! He also has Turmeric as I saw a tag to that effect. It’s hard to know what I photographed though. The water plant looks much like my water chestnuts so I’m going with that. πŸ™‚
      No, never bought seeds for the datura – I sent a link to you though as it fits the Serendipity Farm specs.
      You’re clearly spot on the money with chaos theory planting. I know Angelo chops and drops too so add that to your mix and Sanctuary will be a fenced in version of Angelo’s garden. And both are possum free! πŸ˜€

      • narf77 says:

        I got VERY enthusiastic about this post. One day I am going to go to Angelo’s garden and the drool will be most copious ;). What a garden and how inspiring! You are right to say that it must be an awesome garden if Geoff made a video about it. We are in Sanctuary all day tomorrow, almost finished the water wicked strawberry bed, putting the bath in, whipper snipping and creating a mint bed, a turmeric and cardamom bed and I just potted up about 60 custard apple seeds :). Sanctuary is still possum free but they have been sniffing around and this morning both dogs raced out at 5am howling at something. My guess is a possum was trying to invade their nectarines πŸ˜‰

    • Nope, not a sweet potato. I think it might be dragon fruit now. WOW if it is!

  5. anthonypickering says:

    I have visited a few times as he is only about 10 minutes away from my house and swapped some plants with Angelo over time he is great and certainly defined my philosophy of the gift economy by giving me so many great plants when I first meet him πŸ™‚ . The garden is great and show how productive you can be in a small space πŸ™‚

  6. Linne says:

    One of my ideas of heaven; if it were next to a huge library/bookstore, it would be the ideal heaven! Thanks for a lovely tour, Jess. ~ Linne

  7. […] much you can achieve in a tiny suburban back yard then PLEASE visit Angelo’s garden. I went earlier this yearΒ and can’t begin to tell you how blown my mind was and still is over everything he has […]

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