My current patch is my fifth garden and my second smallest. I had to come down from the heights of a 5 acre garden on the northern tablelands of NSW via a substantial block south coast of NSW to a modest Melbourne suburban block. Moving between climate zones has mean that I have had to re-learn gardening a number of times and after 3 years of gardening in Melbourne I am at last getting the hang of gardening here – I hope! Buying a cold frame has helped and I picked my first zucchinis last week thanks to this investment. Trying to relearn during the tail end of the drought followed by a flood has made things that extra bit challenging.

My garden is a compromise between my desire to own every plant in the universe and my husband’s interest in the overall look of the garden; between my plantsperson’s greedy desire for plants and my interest in productive gardening and all of that and the modest size of our patch. What we have is the result of those compromises.

I have garden zones (not in the permaculture sense), with a cottagey garden out front, two rainforests on either side of the house, with lots of bush tucker plants, and a backyard that has chooks, fruit, vegies and ornamentals. If it doesn’t fit in the garden it goes in pots. Everywhere, however, there are ornamentals in with the productives, and productives tucked in among the flowers.

To support our organic gardening we have water tanks, a worm farm, a chipper to turn plant ‘waste’ into mulch and compost bins and heaps. We eat well from our garden and frequently have enough to share with friends. Passersby enjoy the flowers in the front garden and often pause to look. The wildlife also likes our patch and seeing birds and getting my hands dirty console me for having to leave the bush.


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