Today I am going to talk about my neighbours garden. This is the garden of Chris and Vicki who have lived in our street since 1965 when they moved here with their (then) young son. In that time their garden has grown and evolved, as has their family, and they have put plants in and taken them out.
|Painting the trunks of fruit trees with lime to protect them from bugs in the cold winter months|
But one thing remains constant and that is the home grown produce which they reap from their garden, and believe me their is plenty of that going on. When they first moved in their was only one tree but now that have around 18 trees all bearing fruit of some sort. Some, like one of the apple trees has 5 varieties of apples on it. There is what Chris fondly calls the Plumcot, and another tree which has Apricots, plums and peaches all on the same tree.
Chris and Vicki, who were both born in Greece, where they came from the same region, however if they hadn't come to Australia, separately, in 1956, they may never have met.
When Chris was about 12 yrs old he learnt about growing produce and caring for fruit trees as part of the school curriculum. They were also shown how to graft. A lesson he would later draw on in his home garden in Preston Australia.
|Oranges straight from the tree|
|Avocado's waiting to be picked|
After moving in Chris and Vicki set about planting out the garden, and this included a veggie patch and fruit trees. Chris with the help of his cousin built a retaining wall out of blue stone and behind that built the veggie patch. Which is still there today. A neighbour would help Chris pruning the fruit trees they planted, and one day he came to Chris and suggested he learn how to prune the trees himself. So off he went to Burnley horticultural college for a four weekend course in maintaining not only fruit trees but also roses.
|Triple and quadruple grafts mean that the selection is never boring|
Armed with this new knowledge Chris would help friends and relatives with their pruning in the cooler months, when his neighbour grafted an avocado cutting onto the tree in the backyard everything he learn't at school came back and Chris started experimenting with his established fruit trees.
Now their grandchildren enjoy all the fruits of their labours! Apples, oranges, nectarines, plums, figs, avocadoes and all sorts of salad and veggies. All organic all beautiful. People like Chris, can teach us a lot about sustainability successfully growing home grown produce. The other day I was pruning my fruit trees and Chris came over with some mandarines for us and before I could blink he was helping me out!
Chris and gardeners like him are the gurus in our midst and they are a wealth of information lets not let that knowledge go unnoticed.