Autumn has arrived, and it’s one of my favourite seasons in the garden with its cooler temperatures and stunning autumn coloured trees and falling leaves. Orange definitely has four distinct seasons, which on occasion we can see all four seasons in one day.
Hi, I’m Josie and I moved to Orange from Sydney in the autumn of 2006 with my husband and two children. We purchased some acreage that we named ‘Anfield’ on the outskirts of town in 2010 and that was the beginning of my gardening journey.
I’m definitely no expert however I’ve become passionate and obsessed about my garden, possibly from my self-diagnosed OCD which I was once told was an attribute, so I’m going with that. I will admit however to owning every Paul Bangay book ever published, and COVID permitting we are touring his famous garden ‘Stonefields’ this coming April in Victoria. We have also drawn inspiration from Mayfield Gardens in Oberon which we have visited on numerous occasions and at different times of the year.
We are lucky to call Orange home with its cool climate that allows us to grow a variety of plants that are the envy of others in warmer climates. Edibles such as fruit trees all do well here in Orange. We have planted different varieties of apples, cherries, pears, plums, apricots, nectarines, peaches, figs and quince just to name a few and all do exceptionally well. And if you’re thinking that you don’t have the space for a full sized tree, then a miniature variety may be a good option for you. Just be mindful when planting fruit trees to check their cross pollination requirement to ensure that your tree will set fruit.
In conjunction with fruit trees our cool climate lends itself to plant ornamental (deciduous) trees. And if you’re looking for spectacular autumn colour that range from reds, yellows and browns, there are so many ornamental trees to choose from. We have maples that turn red, claret ash that turn claret, golden ash that turn yellow just to name a few. A favourite of mine would be the Autumn Blaze maples which line our driveway and already have started to turn a rusty red colour. You don’t have to look far to see all the beautiful autumn coloured trees just by driving around town.
Our garden would not be complete without the veggie patch with home-made raised beds that we built from sleepers. This has made gardening so much easier as we are not so low to the ground, and aesthetically looks so much neater with mulch pathways to walk on. This season we have grown tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, strawberries, corn, peas, and beans, pumpkin just to name a few crops. We also dedicate a few beds to perennials such as raspberries, rhubarb, and asparagus. Currently in the veggie patch we have broccoli, spinach, kale, cabbage and cauliflower. The only thing we have to be careful of is not to plant crops too early in the spring time, as we can sometimes get a late frost which will kill off any plants.
Anyone starting out with a sunny spot I would recommend planting strawberries, as most kids love them. They can be planted in pots, hanging baskets, raised beds or in the ground. They are a perennial plant which will come back each spring but need to be replaced every 2 to 3 years. Watching my two grandchildren picking and eating strawberries gives me so much joy, they are only 2 and 3 years of age and have quickly learnt that the red strawberries taste the sweetest, and teaching children about where food comes from is an invaluable life skill. All kids seem much more interested in eating something that they have seen and helped grow and have picked off the plant, and at least you will have the added benefit of knowing it’s organic.
Spring flowering bulbs also grow well in our cool climate, and now is the time to start thinking about buying your bulbs to plant. I will be planting some more tulips and daffodils, and the time to plant them is around mother’s day, so it’s easy to remember. I do admit that it can be a bit of work digging numerous holes with nothing to show for it, but I guarantee that come springtime I always always wish I had planted more!!
Currently in our garden we are cutting back the summer flowering perennials that are now looking tired and weary. Our lavender is cut back this time every year to prevent it from going woody. I’m about to pull out my flowering annuals, consisting mainly of petunias, and replacing them with pansies which are a good option as there are lots of pretty colours to choose from and also can tolerate cooler temps. Mulching is a continuous job, trimming up hedges, dead heading roses and the list goes on…. But at the end of the day when I look out and see some pretty flowers that when it’s all worth it.
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