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Pink Siris, Sleeping Tree, Persian Silk Tree

2012/05/29 deej 1

Albizia julibrissin, known variously as the pink siris, the Persian silk tree, the sleeping tree, or (incorrectly) as a mimosa, is a common ornamental garden and street tree. It has a graceful, elegant shape reminiscent of a jacaranda or acacia, with smooth light brown or grey bark and feathery, bright green leaves. The tree grows up to 12m tall, with an open, umbrella shaped canopy, providing dappled shade and allowing enough light through for other plants to grow underneath the tree. At night, and during periods of rain, the leaves close up as if the tree is sleeping, leading to […]

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Our First Winter

2012/05/23 deej 0

Winter is here, and the rains have started. Or at least – we had two weeks of rainy weather, and now we have Melbourne winter weather. Cold and dry. It’s lovely for going out in, but my poor baby trees need the wet. K commented the other day that being a permahippy has the unexpected consequence of making you respond to a rainy day with excitement and happiness. So much precious water, so many things that can grow as a result. The current objective is to extend the tree cover as much as we can before next summer, to provide […]

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glass gem corn

2012/05/18 deej 0

The internet – or at least the organic / heirloom gardening, plant-nerd and permaculturish back alleys of it that I frequent – have been buzzing for the last week or so about a newly discovered variety of corn. It’s called glass gem corn, although it could as easily be called rainbow corn or even omgponies corn. Whatever the name, it’s beautiful. Glass gem is a flint corn variety, also sometimes called Indian corn (as opposed to dent, or field corn, sweetcorn, and popcorn) which means that it’s used for grinding into cornmeal or cornflour rather than as a fresh vegetable. […]

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Boabs and Baobabs

2012/05/16 deej 0

Most people have barely heard of baobabs, or boabs as they’re more commonly called in Australia. It’s odd, since we’re one of the few places in the world which has a native baobab species – the Australian Boab, Adansonia gregorii. There are only eight species of baobab. Of the other seven, one is native to Africa (Adansonia digitata, the African Baobab), and the other six (Adansonia grandidieri, Adansonia madagascariensis, Adansonia perrieri, Adansonia rubrostipa, Adansonia suarezensis, and Adansonia za) are endemic to Madagascar. All baobabs are extremely drought tolerant and hardy. Some are as little as 3m tall, while others are […]

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Trees and Water

2012/05/15 deej 2

No scheme water, and no bore or rainwater tanks in place, made irrigation over the summer a very labour intensive task. So every weekend we filled up a couple’ve barrels with water and drove them up to Gallifrey, then manually transferred the water to the water tubes around each of the trees using watering cans. We tried a few water containers, and experiment showed that the recycled plastic olive barrels fitted with taps were the best. The flexible plastic water bladders that we tried first didn’t hold much water, and sprung leaks after two or three uses. The plastic slimline […]