Jackie Walkington has created a garden space that is inspired by diversity. She appreciates the peace that her garden offers her and over time has become an expert composter! Here is her garden story.
First of all how would you describe your garden? (What do you grow? What is your climate like? )
I moved from Queensland to Canberra 11 years ago so of course I had to learn to garden in a very different climate. Canberra’s seasons are extreme; temperatures vary from hot to very cold with regular frosts from late April to early September. I have experienced very dry periods as well as the occasional wet year. My garden is eclectic and personal. Most trees are deciduous. Bands of native plantings are juxtaposed with exotic species. The productive elements of fruit trees, vegetables and herbs are intermingled with perennials and bulbs. My garden is not too orderly, but rather an ever-changing pallet.
How did you get started in gardening?
I recall my mother and father gardening when I was young, but my love of the natural and outdoor environment really took hold once I bought my first house.
What motivates you to get up and garden?
I don’t tend to be a still person. The lure of both planned and serendipitous activity once I step outside is irresistible. There is always something new and interesting.
What were some of the unexpected hurdles in your garden? How did you deal with them?
Areas of poor soil and lots of trees were initial challenges. Over time I have become really good at composting and worm farming to improve the soil. I also had to make the tough decision to remove some trees – I really didn’t need four plum trees!
What were some of the unexpected benefits from gardening?
Gardening is the balance in my life; my peaceful escape from busy work commitments.
Is there a gardening moment that stands out for you?
What has your garden taught you?
I have learned to not give up when things don’t work. Amid many successes, there are plenty of failures that can be learned from. Success is so satisfying!
If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
Rhubarb! Pests are not a problem; and they have long lives; growing in a rich compost soil; all that is needed is water.
What tips would you offer first time gardeners?
Recycling, composting, worms etc have so much benefit for the garden and give you a warm feeling of being environmentally responsible. Every garden should have a compost bin, no matter how small it is.
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