Newsletter #13 | January 2023
"The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies"
Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932)
Welcome to the New Year that promises to see great progress in the garden.
We have had some very hot spells in January but our gardens have survived very well thanks to the protective layer of mulch in each bed and regular watering. However, it is possible to over-water losing valuable nutrients from the soil and preventing the root system from being properly aerated. Wilting leaves are sometimes just a plant's mechanism for controlling heat stress and not necessarily a sign that it needs water. Test the soil by digging under the mulch with a finger to see if it is damp.
Another sign you may be over watering is the growth of lush, green grass around the base of the bed! Also have a look at the great ideas for shading the vulnerable plants in some of the beds - 50% shadecloth is a handy item.
Speaking of great ideas, Gertrude Jekyll mentioned above was a brilliant gardener who designed over 400 gardens in the UK, Europe and America during her lifetime. I like to think that her devotion to gardening boosted her both mentally and physically, contributing to her 89 years on the planet. That's a pretty good innings for those days! If her surname seems familiar - Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, was a family friend and asked permission to use the surname for his novel.
Meet the Members - Tony Watkin
A regular feature in our newsletters in 2023
Tony has been on the MCSI committee from its start back in October 2021 and he is a man of many talents. His work with the tools has been exceptional, from cutting onions (no tears) and cooking on the Bunnings BBQ raising much needed funds, organising the assembly of our raised beds and cutting the boards to size, filling the beds with soil and mulch, designing our fence, installing the posts and rails and screwing the pickets to the fence. He's good at shopping too, driving all over the mid coast Fleurieu to pick up steel posts and rails, tracked loaders, concrete, fence and raised bed fittings etc. He's definitely on first name terms at Bunnings and Wood 'N' Logs.
In the meantime he has broken up a heap of pallets and worn out the pallet buster tool, installed a watering system for the orchard and taps for the garden and is now busy paving the base for the sheds. Of the 589 pickets in our fence, we calculate that Tony has put up about 75% That's about 1800 screws! Tony officially retired from full time work last year but has never been busier - and not just with our project. If you see someone working in the garden at 7am chances are it's Tony.
We love seeing children in the garden and can't wait to create some play areas for them. Meanwhile it looks like they can set up their own areas quite well without us.
Have your say in the design features of our community garden
Look out for an email invitation soon to attend a member's meeting and brainstorm ideas on our garden design and the features you would like to see included. You will also have the opportunity to form an action group to get the work started on your ideas and help bring them to reality. Here's a short list of features that have been mentioned over the last year - worm farms, children's play areas, native bee hotels, compost bins, sensory gardens, water features, chickens, fishpond, herb garden, market garden, garden library, bicycle rack, BBQ, solar panels, scarecrows, greenhouse, shadehouse, Native Edible garden, maze, butterfly garden - other ideas welcome!
Finally, we have had the sad news that two members of our committee have decided not to continue at the present time. Lisa Schuyler was a member from the start in Oct '21 and quickly became our Secretary guiding us through all the necessary documentation with skill and accuracy and keeping our records in good shape. Her help with the fundraising Bunnings BBQ documentation and work on the serving team was invaluable as was her contribution to our first Planting Day in the Wetlands. Lisa also has some great ideas for the development of the community garden and we all hope she keeps the committee focussed from the members ranks. Tyler Edwards has had a shorter term on the committee but with his gardening skills and cheerful, positive approach made an important contribution to our work, both with useful ideas and practical work.
Lisa and Tyler have decided to take a break from the garden committee to focus on family and careers and we wish them every success.
This project was seeded by
Our committee is Rory Fitzsimons (Chair), Kaarin Wilkinson, Tony Watkin, Debbie Saegenschnitter, and Wayne Good. If you have any questions or ideas please contact us via Facebook, on our website or on the Seaford Wetlands Gardeners chat.