Monthly Archives: October 2016

Adding an Olive Grove

olive-grove-6A milestone birthday saw the gift of 6 olive trees to be planted at the retreat. Two of one variety and four of another. In my enthusiasm, I have left the labels in the shed, so am not sure about the actual variety.  I have been assured that there is a difference between table olives and oil olives. Either way, I’m sure I’m going to learn how to work with the crop. (Update:  they are Kalamata and Lecchino)

Presently there are plenty of flower buds on 3 of the trees.  Apparently the olives are too bitter for birds to be attracted to them, but I have observed a olive-grove-5large flock of cockatoos in the olive plantation down the road, so if I’m serious about getting a crop, I’m going to have to net them.

With the heavy clay soil waterlogged at times, I decided to work on the soil and wait for better weather before planting them out.  After the holes were dug, a liberal application of gypsum was applied and dug into the clay. Previous applications have worked well in conditioning the soil along the lines that mark the labyrinth.

Each visit since June, the soil has been turned over and the holes re-dug, partly to aerate them and partly to allow the winter rains to reach deeper into the soil and to get the gypsum to mix in with the clay.   With a revitalized Oak tree at the entrance to the labyrinth & possibly another acorn germinating at the northern edge, I decided to put the olive trees about olive-grove-7a metre out from the labyrinth, spacing them out…3 on each side, resulting in approximately 5 metres between each tree. That should give them adequate space to thrive.  The soil on the Eastern side is quite poor and very hard to dig as it is heading toward a section of the hill that has quite a bit of scoria, and I’m hoping that the addition of the gypsum and compost will be adequate.

The composting process has been improved and composted buckets have been transferred to a large compost bin and topped up with extra sawdust. Some early warm spring days have resulted in some good quality soil. This was well mixed into the previously dug holes and the trees planted. olive-grove-4

John, our friendly neighbour, advised that wallabies are partial to olives, so some sturdy wire was purchased and the trees surrounded by this. Also taller stakes were used as I have observed the kangaroos using the stakes around the oak trees as chin scratching poles!

Planting done… appropriate addition to the 7 ring Cretan labyrinth and I’m hoping that the energy of the labyrinth will help to nurture these Olive trees.….

One day, far into the future, long after the labyrinth path has subsided back into the paddock there will  be a small olive grove…..




greenhood-orchids With good winter and spring rains and some sunshine, Mother Nature has woven her magic and produced some beautiful plants to admire now that the land has lain fallow for several seasons and mulched with last season’s grasses and biddy bush.

Swathes of greenhood orchids, just gently nodding their heads in the breeze. I did chuckle when reading the gardening notes for them as these have sprung up out of heavy clay and have had no attention whatsoever.

Billy ButtonsSpring brings a colour palette of yellow….. first the wattles… with different varieties blooming over a period of time.  The longest lasting blooms are the pale, almost white wattles that have spikey branches.  This year has brought forward thesedrosera-3 tiny button like flowers that have carpeted the anthills and have started to die back.  Walking about, not only keeping an eye out for reptiles that may be stirring from their winter hiatus, the eye catches other small plants such as Droseras. Starting off as a small rosette of leaves, these grow into delicate plants that gently sway in the breeze, topped by a small pinkish white flower. They are carnivorous, but have yet to make any inroads into the thriving mosquito population.

CapeweedThe rains have also meant a bumper crop this year throughout the district of Capeweed. The yellow daisy like flowers with a dark centre are particularly attractive to the bees and I’m hoping that the local apiarist is getting some good quality honey. wildflower-2

In the afternoon light, there appears to be a patch of feathers in a stony area. Closer inspection reveals it not to be feathers, but tiny delicate irises, no more than four to five centimetres high.  The habit of carrying a camera on any expedition pays off, as the flowers have gone by the morning. Initially, I thought that the wildlife may have eaten them, but on a subsequent visit, noticed that by early evening the flowers had wilted and shriveled and later that night, by the light of a torch and with no wildlife in sight all that was left was the thin strappy leaves.