Progress of a Wall

First came the posts, one of which is slightly more wonky than the others. Then the seemingly endless task of creating a flat and level surface for the first horizontal row of sleepers. Then the serendipitous visit of The Boy for a weekend, who helped with the next two rows. Luckily, because each sleeper weighs 50kg (110lbs). Actually, when I say 'helped', I really mean, 'he did it all while I handed him the screws'. But apparently he was having fun.

My lovely neighbour offered to cut of the upright posts with his chainsaw, but then he did his knee in. However, when some nice young men arrived to cut down some trees for me, I asked them very politely if they would mind levelling the posts for me, while they were brandishing chainsaws and all. They kindly lopped them off, the job taking all of two minutes.

Today I lugged 200kg (440lbs) of gravel down the hill from the back of my car. See, this is why I go to the gym - so I can build a vegie garden. The gravel goes under and over the ag pipe to provide drainage so that the retaining wall won't slide down the hill in a flood. I am happy to report that I managed to buy all of these supplies from a local landscaping firm.

Now to back-fill with dirt. Luckily there is a large pile of it in the middle of the garden, possibly pertaining to some renovations undertaken by the previous owners. The big problem for building at our place is access. No driveway. So I can completely understand why they deposited this dirt in situ. I hope there is enough, because honestly, I am not sure how I am going to fill it up otherwise..

One of the joys of digging in the dirt at an old house is finding what others have left behind. I treasure every piece of old crockery I dig out of my gardens. My old garden (circa 1930) provided a few pieces, but this garden (circa 1860) clearly belonged to several generations of housekeepers who were very careless with their crockery.

This was my reward for today's digging efforts. It's like a lucky dip, turning up a spadeful of dirt then spying something white - is it a rock? A root? Or part of someone's treasured dinner set?

And clearly, future generations will be just as lucky, as I faithfully promise to bury all the shards of my op-shop derived blue and white crockery collection in the garden as and when it shatters, because all good things come to an end. Luckily, op-shops seem to have an endless supply of blue-and-white china.

Sunny winter's afternoon in the garden? Yes, please.. Me and the cat and some gravel and some dirt, and visions of a glorious, technicolour edible garden come Spring. Maybe Spring of 2020 at the rate we are going, but we will get there, the cat and I..


Treaders said…
I love that blue and white china too (the broken stuff is great at the bottom of your flower pots to allow drainage). You can find lovely stuff here at vide-grenier (car boots/yard sales) but I think heck I'm on my own, do I really need to bring more stuff into the house. I do love it though. And I'm sure you'll have a lovely garden sooner than you think. I just got myself a gardener to do the lawn mowing as it was killing me, but with that done I can really enjoy doing the rest. Love it. Anna
Tanya Murray said…
Darling Jo, I have just fallen down your rabbit hole and caught up on the last four or five posts and enjoyed every minute. I fully intended to catch up with you over my holidays and bring you housewarming celebrations but amazingly, here it is, my first day back and I've achieved only a third of the planned things. I find I'm better organised when I'm busy busy to be honest. You must have super muscles by now girl. I wish I had visited on a blanket stitching day too, sounds so nice and companionable. You must let Cindy and I help you with the back fill, she is as strong as anything you know (you shouls see her carting buckets like the Sorcerers Apprentice!)XXX
Jo said…
Anna, I do keep all my broken flower pot pieces to put at the bottom of other flower pots for drainage. Snap! But I arrange my broken blue and white crockery finds in the tops of my flower pots so I can admire them:) Best part about my new place? No lawn:) :)

Tanya, we miss you at our meetings - join us anytime:) Also, please come and dig dirt with me. Party, party!!
Bek said…
Lovely work! I feel your pain re: lugging soil from place to place when I moved my wicking beds, but it is so worth it. Looking forward to seeing what you do when it's filled up
Jo said…
Bek, oh, so do I! Can't wait! Happy vegie garden dreaming:)
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

I'm looking forward to seeing what you plant in those new garden terraces.

Putting your son to work was a great idea, guys love that sort of thing. Any friends that turn up here, I put them to work on something that they can achieve to completion, and honestly they are happier for that. With all of the work here, I forget sometimes what life is like for them.

The ag pipe was a great idea and I would never have thought about that. I assume that is the black slotted plastic pipe?

Well done you and glad to hear that you are getting some sunshine too!


Jo said…
Chris, yes, The Boy grew up helping with our renovations - he is quite handy, and now he lives in a rental share house in Melbourne, so an afternoon doing a spot of building is a bit of a change:)

According to all the you-tube videos I watched on building retaining walls, drainage is a big issue. I wasn't entirely convinced that it was necessary for a 60cm high wall on free-draining loam with slight gaps between the rows of sleepers, but then I thought it would be better to be safe than sorry. Apparently if a lot of water pools behind a retaining wall it can explode down the hill. Exciting!
Lane said…
I am loving your as yet weed free garden. Over here in New England, in hazy lazy August, the crab grass/purslane/? have flourished at the base of all 30 tomatoes, umpteen peppers and eggplants, cukes, 5 kinds of squash, a dozen brussel sprouts. I do let the lettuce self seed in the 8 foot canopy of asparagus ferns as they enjoy the shade. My red onions are usually my prize specimens at 12-16 oz a piece, but I allowed the red russian kale to self seed in that bed-- lovely but my yield will suffer. Have you gardened a lot in the past? Warning-- addictive activity! We are organic here as I assume you will be? Best of luck to you. Still rubbish at growing carrots...
GretchenJoanna said…
I love your posts about this project - and the homey pottery pieces mixed in with the dirt are really sweet!
Jo said…
Lane, welcome! Yes, I am a mad gardener, but new house = new garden, and I am very excited to be able to turn my whole backyard into a giant vegie patch:) It is lovely to look out on the weed-free winter garden, isn't it? Late summer brings its joyous lushness, and that always includes the weeds. And I am with you on self-sown plants - it is SO hard to pull them out..

Your garden sounds like a glorious jungle of goodness, which is exactly the look I will be going for.. confession, I have never grown a decent carrot either..

Gretchen Joanna, I am perennially nosy, and love to find out what kind of dinner plates my predecessors ate from for the last hundred years!

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