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Back in March our garden was a disaster zone and I pledged to use the change of seasons to slash, hack and rip out the mess and begin again. I called it Project Green Phoenix. For three days (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3) I toiled hard. Then my holidays were unexpectedly interrupted by some last minute stuff for uni (I swear, writing a PhD thesis is the easy part. The real test begins after you get your examiners reports back and you decide you’d like to graduate). Also, I’d ordered a lot of my autumn plants from the Diggers Club and was waiting for them to turn up. So the garden was put on hold for a few weeks.

Finally, with my plants and seeds ready to go and Good Friday before me, I got to work. I picked the last of the tomatoes, then ripped out the dying bushes, dug over and fertilised the soil and put in three varieties of garlic. They didn’t take up as much space as I’d thought, so I may plant up some more onion varieties as a bonus.

I’ve never been very good at caring for the soil, but this year I’m Making An Effort and have put down pea straw, which is apparently the best stuff to use as it helps keep the soil warm and moist, but isn’t too dense.

A friend kindly donated  some old pots she wasn’t using, so I’ve painted these up to match the ones I painted last month and planted a few varieties of primulas (gold lace and red hot pokers) and some billy button seeds (no idea how the billy buttons will go, but they’re so pretty I had to try) to add a little colour to the front garden. I’ve also got a few varieties of poppy seeds, which I’m going to plant up with more billy buttons and blue love-in-a-mist in the empty front beds to create a bit of a cottage garden feel for spring.

There’s still a bit of tidying to be done (my God, the lawn grows like a mad thing this time of year), but I’m just about set for the winter and everything’s looking a damn sight better than it was a month ago.

Then

Then.

April Gard 10

Now.

Last of the tomatoes. Man, I'm going to miss these.

Last of the tomatoes. Man, I’m going to miss these.

Tomato plants all gone.

Tomato plants all gone.

The soil dug over.

The soil dug over.

Three varieties of garlic ready for planting. This year I'm experimenting with (from L to R): Russian garlic, which has pretty purple flowers, massive cloves and is ready early in the season; silverskin, a late bloomer that stores well; and early purple, which, as the name suggest, is ready early and is apparently one of the easiest varieties to grow.

Three varieties of garlic ready for planting. This year I’m experimenting with (from L to R): Russian garlic, which has pretty purple flowers, massive cloves and is ready early in the season; silverskin, a late bloomer that stores well; and early purple, which, as the name suggest, is ready early and is apparently one of the easiest varieties to grow.

Garlic going in the ground.

Garlic going in the ground.

Mint and basil are still going strong. Just hoping the basil holds out until my dehydrator arrives and I can dry some for the winter.

Mint and basil are still going strong. Just hoping the basil holds out until my dehydrator arrives and I can dry some for the winter.

Nastirtuim and irises popping up in unexpected places.

Nastirtuim and irises popping up in unexpected places.

The marigolds are still flowering, so I'm leaving them be for now.

The marigolds are still flowering, so I’m leaving them be for now.

Onion patch mulched. Still needs a little trimming around the edges (I know, I know).

Onion patch mulched. Still needs a little trimming around the edges (I know, I know).

There's a lonely little potato in the onion patch. Not sure if I need to pull this out.

There’s a lonely little potato in the onion patch. Not sure if I need to pull this out.

Broad beans are going gang-busters.

Broad beans are going gang-busters.

Just look at those little monsters!

Just look at those little monsters!

Strawberries are also growing.

Strawberries are also growing.

The 'capsicums' I planted turned out to be chillies. I don't have much use for these, certainly not this many, but I'm planning to dry a bunch of them to give to friends when the dehydrator arrives before I pull them out.

The ‘capsicums’ I planted turned out to be chillies. I don’t have much use for these, certainly not this many, but I’m planning to dry a bunch of them to give to friends when the dehydrator arrives before I pull them out.

More nasturtiums! I love how these just keep coming back.

More nasturtiums! I love how these just keep coming back.

April Gard 20

The lemon tree is starting to get some of it's growth back. Unfortunately the path weeds are equally enthusiastic.

The lemon tree is starting to get some of it’s growth back. Unfortunately the path weeds are equally enthusiastic.

April gard 23

I re potted these about a month ago and have been watering them regularly. It’s worked wonders.

Out the front, the chamomile is looking much greener and healthier.

Out the front, the chamomile is looking much greener and healthier.

Undercoating my newly-aquired pots.

Undercoating my newly-aquired pots.

April Gard 7

Top coats finished on a rainy afternoon.

The herb/flower verandah garden is growing.

The herb/flower verandah garden is growing.

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Chilli and a pot of billy button seeds.

By the front door.

By the front door.

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