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. 🙂
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 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 60m² (640² 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! 🙂 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. 🙂 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.
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 guava 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 🙂
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. 🙂