A new sign


tending, november 18 2010

For ages The Boss and I have been wanting to make a sign. One of the (small?) issues with the TENDING garden has been that people really need to bump into us by chance, to find out what the garden is about, and how it works.

One big advance in recent weeks has been that the courtyard where the garden is situated is being left unlocked during the day – so that staff and students can wander in and out at will, and enjoy the space to hang out, eat their lunch, plant stuff…

This week, The Boss had a small mishap in the kitchen before he left home, involving a pair of scissors and a large accidental gash in his finger. So he was missing in action, and I had to make the above sign on my own.

The back of an old plywood panel is screwed to a garden stake, with the lettering created by cut out shapes of adhesive contact vinyl (thanks to Sara for the vinyl). It’s certainly not permanent – but it’s a start…

The next steps include adding the URL of this website, and also setting up a large blackboard so that we can begin to map out everything that’s currently in the garden.

It’s end-of-year exhibition time at Sydney College of the Arts, and students are strutting around pleased with themselves (undergrads), or else putting the final touches on their masterpieces (masters candidates). Alex, who has just set up an installation of her work involving brightly coloured hammocks suspended between some of the pillars around the college, kindly came and custom-strung one for us!

Here she is, using it:

tending, november 18 2010

It was a very relaxed week at TENDING. Besides Alex’s visit (she fed some “fish emulsion” to her tiny tomato garden which she built a few weeks back), I had lunch with Barbara and Margaret; Sara came to water her letters-artwork; and of course, Heather popped in to oversee the proceedings.

Heather is always pushing to make the garden a more happening place. There’s talk of an “earthbag” construction workshop by these guys, wormfarming courses, and film screenings. And as the summer gets nearer, it could indeed be wonderful to have some outdoor events here (depending on whether the college permits that sort of thing, I have no idea what their policy is in that regard!).

Finally, a photo of the space where Liz Day farmed her grass, which is now on show at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in Western Sydney. I really like this ‘negative space’ – and you can see our little shed in the corner…

tending, november 18 2010

and so was the sun


What a beautiful day, full of surprises and good will.

Tending, 11 Nov 2011

Sarah (is this how you spell it?) came in today with a set of potted letters, which she’s growing for her upcoming master degree show, in December, so in the mean time they are acclimatising to the SCA’s grounds.
We also got some more banana pups from Michelle, who generously traded them for a couple of bags of soil me and Lucas collected from Callan Park’s gardener, Glen.

Grapes too, and water chestnuts, parsley, and bees!, native ones.

Awaiting for the pollinating garden now, but in the meantime, the Graduate show of Sydney College of the Arts is on next week!

Reshaping the Betty Bed


Tending Day, Thursday 4 November 2010
[The original Betty-Bed, just before we started reshaping…]

Here’s the new garden bed that Betty from the cafe (along with her crack team of hand-picked students) built a few weeks ago. At the time, Betty said:

“It’s nothing special, the shape of the bed and everything can be modified later, it’s just to get something in and growing first, and worry about all that down the track.”

So this week the boss and I decided the time was right to reshape the Betty Bed.

Our main concern – besides aesthetics (as Betty says, square isn’t the prettiest shape for a garden) was depth. We wanted to reduce the footprint of the bed, make it a bit smaller, so that the soil in there could be a bit deeper in sections. Inspired by Cecilia’s bed, we decided to create a diversity of shapes, depths and micro-zones within this bed.

We began by chopping into the front corner, raising the sandstone blocks taller so they’d support more soil within:

Tending Day, Thursday 4 November 2010

Humming away in dirt-under-fingernails contentment, we inserted an old plastic plant pot as our new resident pond; on the right hand side of this picture you can also see the little niche we installed, for fun as much as for any other reason:

Tending Day, Thursday 4 November 2010

Along the way, We encountered a few creatures which indicated there is sufficient moisture present, at present, to support such biodiversity:

Tending Day, Thursday 4 November 2010

(I believe Heather relocated this fellow to “the bottom of the garden”. And that’s actually not a euphemism, she really did that.)

The sun came up, and we replanted all the seedlings which we’d had to temporarily remove while reshaping:

Tending Day, Thursday 4 November 2010

And here’s the “finished product” (with all due acknowledgement, of course, that at Tending, there is no such thing):

Tending Day, Thursday 4 November 2010

Tending Day, Thursday 4 November 2010

Besides incessantly chatting and bickering with each other, socially, it was a quiet day at Tending. Not many human visitors. After reshaping Betty’s bed, we stopped to admire the lushness of our brassicas:

Tending Day, Thursday 4 November 2010

We watched the rains come in:

Tending Day, Thursday 4 November 2010

And some local faulty engineering made us consider the possibility of water harvesting:

Tending Day, Thursday 4 November 2010

Finally, we “obtained a yield” – sharing some of our abundant lettuce and mustard greens crop with a couple of friendly students who were sheltering from the storm:

Tending Day, Thursday 4 November 2010

-Til next week, Tenders!

new gardens of spring


Spring sprung, sorry the pun. It is here, the rainy moon we’re experiencing is thrusting everything into life, so green.
And people come out and make gardens, even more now.

Below is the result of a permablitz on a verge, in LiIlyfield, a couple of Ks down the hill, I believe Heather and Jes took part in it.


The result is outstanding, i was especially impressed by the size of the tomatoes plants and fruits, the rainy water lovingly fostering all plants.

A couple of new gardens came to be in Tending too. One, a classic combination, tomatoes and basil, each looking after the other, and the other is a start of a Banana circle,
Thanks to Michele of Enmore, who donated us a number of Lady’s finger banana pups, in exchange for soil, so we eagerly sealed the barter, and now we a have a starting wonder, right were the horse poo enriched the soil, they should love it.
Some of the cluster are going to another garden thou, yet another one 🙂
This time in Roselle, at Anyplace, were some brilliant growing will happen soon.
Me and Heather and Justine went to speak with Jase last week, and started some clean-up this sunday, stay tuned.

next Tending day is this thursday, from 9ish, Nick should pop in, and we the whole new pile of soil we collected from Callan Park’s gardeners, we should be ready to start the melissa garden no?

Below then is me posting a video

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