The list


so, I have been bragging about spontaneus flora from a while, and it somewhat feels strange this, but I am now involved in a garden project where in collaboration with Lucas and anybody else who would like to join, are going to somewhat grow things!
yes, that’s right, actual seeding, planting, watering and minding.. or rather, tending.
So, in view of the aforementioned exercise, I brushed up my knowledge of garden plants, the sorts humans have been crafting and selecting out of the wild counterparts since the start of it all: agriculture.
About 10-15,000 years ago, in several parts of the continent, various inhabitant started to domesticate nature, animals and plants, instigating the process of delimitation of space, control of environments, property.
Uhmm, we dont wonna go there with this post, but rather have a look at the selected species nowadays available commercially for our consumption.
I did my own selection and in a twin posting between here and WeedyConnection’s blog, propose a list.
I exert comments, suggestions and counter-lists.
My own selection takes in account few factors:
1 we need to see results in a relatively short time frame
2 there is water, but at this stage we are not sure about who can be the actual watering person every day, so tough plants are preferable
3 a few have been selected because of their peculiarity (see individual entry)

You have browsed the Diggers club for this selection, but more ca be found in other sites, like Eden seeds.

Cool, here’s my list:


Rubus hybrid ‘Marionberry’

Admired for their unique and complex flavour profile Marionberries have long been revered in the US. Their vibrant purple color packs a powerful nutritional punch that catapults Marionberries to the top of the antioxidant charts. With an underlying earthiness, hints of sweet and a lively tartness no berry garden is complete without one.

Quarantine – cannot post to: NZ WA

Now, that’s a must if I was going to do any gardening, and just lucky the quarantine limitation is only for Western Australia!

Fragaria x ananassa

Create a column of fragrant sweet strawberries perfect for a sunny balcony or verandah. Includes one strawberry bag which can hold 10 strawberries and 10 Cambridge Rival strawberries for planting. Can produce 5 kilos of strawberries or up to 20 punnets! Water regularly in hot and/or windy weather.

Quarantine – cannot post to: NZ QLD

This one quarantine restriction is for QLD.. lucky again. We want to have some strawberry growing somewhere, great finger-food for passers-by

Rumex acetosa

Use leaves in lamb and beef stews, slightly tangy, lemon flavor adds zest to salads and is especially good with fish and to make soup. Perennial with large, long, wavy, light-green leaves. Greenish yellow to red flowers in midsummer.

Quarantine – cannot post to: WA

This is funny, as I can probably point at wild rumex acetosa’s growing a bit of everywhere, so I might just do that, go and collect some seeds from the local variety in Callan Park (the park adjoining the Sydney College of the Arts grounds, where the garden is) and grow them both, see who does best.
Again, quarantine limitations.

Ocimum basilicum

This is the true green basil favored by continental cooks. Grow half a dozen plants and you will have enough to fresh pick all summer, and to make pesto that you can freeze for quick pasta dishes in the winter. The perfect companion for your tomatoes.

Yep, Basil, we gonna have some tomatoes for sure, so we need basil to grow beside them.

Borago officinalis

Slate grey leaves topped by panicles of blue. Flowers and leaves can be added to summer drinks. 45 sds.

Now then, this is a plant with which I have sentimental attachments. It grows wild in northern Italy where I grew-up, and from spring to late summer is the perfect plant to cook buttered, absolutely yummy!

Allium schoenoprasum

A mild onion flavour and can be grown as an insect repellent barrier.

Quarantine – cannot post to: NZ TAS

That’s another toughie, it would grow regardless, great finger food too. Not for the Tazzies thou.

Foeniculum vulgare

With bronze fern-like foliage, this fennel is as valued for its decorative quality as it is for its insect attracting ability. Non bulbing. 120 sds.

Quarantine – cannot post to: NZ TAS

And here is another one that I can pull out of Callan’s wilderness, grow beside and see what happen.
Also to be said is that most of those plants quarantined in whatever state, are also somewhat restricted all over Australia, maybe not legislated against, but surely enlisted in the ‘environmental threat list’
..but let’s carry on

Mentha spicata

Spearmint is used to flavour roast lamb and other meats, sweets, oils, jellies, drinks, and tea. It also is an attractive, spreading ornamental ground cover.

Here’s another wild one, not restricted, but it will not have problems to settle and survive whatever.

Tanacetum vulgare

The yellow flowers and leafy shoots can be used to make a yellow-green dye or repel ants and flies.

This one is for environmentally-friendly control of ants and mozzies, I’ll let Lucas with his freshly acquired Permaculture knowledge go off on the benefits of this one.

Cucurbita moschata

A prized heirloom Butternut that sets the standard by which other pumpkins are judged. Classically shaped fruit with a small seed cavity so you get more usable pumpkin. Soft yellow flesh and a great nutty flavour. Harvest in 133 days, 6kg/plant.

We have to have a pumpkin growin! it would go big, asserting itself on whatever space, looking glorious as a fantastic visual achievement to be proud of.
I can already see a fantastic Pumpkin soup coming up in late autumn!

SORGHUM Treated Seed
(Covers 10 m2)
Sorghum sudanense ‘Sudex’ F1

Tall, green strappy form containing lots of biomass to incorporate into the soil after the grain harvest. Sterile hybrid that will not cause any weed problem.
Quarantine – cannot post to: WA

So, this is a man-made variety, which despite being reduced to a sterile being (uhmff), still is restricted.
Sorghum is also one of the first crops human a threat.

L. esculentum var. escolentum

This sweet currant is the world’s smallest tomato, yielding hundreds of the sweetest fruits from mid summer to late autumn. If your kids won’t eat tomatoes, they will be converted after trying these little lollies (just don’t tell them they are tomatoes!).

Quarantine – cannot post to: TAS

And finally, the Tomatoes!! I choose those ones as they are the kind that needs little to no attention, and yet produce proficiently small yummy finger food.

So, I didnt mean to, I honestly just went through the list available online, but yet the selection for the garden ended up being a selection of toughies, yes, but also a selection of restricted plants (8 out of 13!) comment

Greeting the Yard


site plan sketch july 11 2010
[The Yard, July 12, 2010. North is roughly to the left of the page…]

Today at lunchtime, Diego and I agreed to meet on site, to spend a little time with the yard, to hear what it had to say.

At the cafe, we bumped into Jess, who I seem to meet almost every time I come to the college. She’s very studious, which is commendable. Even more commendable is the fact that she’s at the college very regularly, and keen to get involved with the garden. So she came along with us for our first visit.

At the cafe, we met Betty, the totally charming cafe lady. VERY keen to take part is Betty. She says she feels terrible throwing away the food scraps from the kitchen, and so will be an immediate supplier of compostables for the garden. We beamed at each other while she told me about her backyard in Marrickville (she grows an abundance of sugarcane! or rather, it grows itself!) and she promised to bring in a multitude of herb cuttings to get us started. All of this before we had even greeted our yard.

We don’t know yet what will happen. On our current understanding, we have six months to get something rolling, working on a very part time basis. Our thinking right now is to tread lightly (rather than swoop in with something spectacular), to do a little each week and get some small results soon, allowing the yard to head in its own direction as it goes along. We don’t have total autonomy: especially in the early days, we’ll have to make sure the college is happy with our progress, but we hope that confidence and trust will be one of our early harvests.

Above, here, I’ve put today’s sketch – “the yard as it is now”.

Plenty of opportunity for rainwater harvesting from the corrugated iron rooftops; plenty of space, filled currently with ancient spongy kikuyu or buffalo lawn and flatweeds; plenty of sun, plenty of shade, depending which side of the courtyard you look at. There are some existing well-established trees – frangipani, palm trees mainly. There’s an old mercedes benz painted white; there is a “grass-farm” in the far corner, already being tended by artist Liz Day. There are cute old concrete paths cast in hexagonal shapes; there’s an art library next door. There are a few taps for fresh water on site.

And there’s a mouldy old shed in the corner!