A few weeks ago I touched briefly on the subje

A few weeks ago I touched briefly on the subject of vertical gardening, that is, the use of vertical space for those that have limited space for gardening. It makes good sense even if you have plenty of room in which to garden to make use of vertical spaces including fences (with the permission of the next door neighbour) to grow climbing plants on. What I have done with the neighbour on one side is to share the produce with them, this may work for you too. At present I have a very productive grape vine and about 10 winter marmande tomato plants on that side. The other vertical surface that I like to use all year round is trellises. You can grow sweet peas or snow peas on it in the winter and cucumbers or ceylon climbing spinach on it in the summer. I grew sweet peas last winter and ceylon spinach in summer and found that it worked well, with some spinach leaves measuring up to 12 inches across.

Another vertical area that we often overlook is the use of mature trees, preferably those with an open canopy to allow filtered sunlight in. Personally, I have found that some of our flowering natives such as grevilleas and bottle brushes are ideal as they have open canopies and also rough bark. Trees with rough bark are ideal hosts for bromeliads, orchids and orchid cactus. How many times have you seen a choko or pumpkin vine climbing over a tree? In fact, trees are an ideal support for these two vines, which are too rambly for most yards. Open canopy trees are also ideal to support hanging baskets and many plants just love the open, airy and partly shaded environment.

Tip: To fix easy-to-grow orchids such as soft cane dendrobiums, dancing ladies, cattleyas or bromeliads onto trees follow these simple steps. One: Find a good location that is not too much higher than eye level. Two: Fix the plant securely by stapling or nailing it onto the tree. Three: Take a double sheet of The Echo newspaper and fold it down until its three inches wide, then soak it with seasol, water for a few minutes and wrap it around the root area and secure it with the leg from a pair of pantyhose. Finally, drape a piece of Spanish moss over the root zone to keep moisture in.

The next meeting of the Lismore Garden Club is on Thursday, April 10, at 1pm at the Lismore Workers Club. Visitors are most welcome. For further information phone Wally on 6624 1125.

Finally: Bounteous seasons and barren ones too, times for rejoicing and times to be blue, but meeting these seasons of dark desolation with strength that is born of anticipation that comes knowing that autumn-time sadness will surely be followed by a springtime of gladness. Helen Steiner-Rice

Happy gardening

Ron Burns


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