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An Afternoon in the Garden: Annalise Fosbery on how to make your garden a productive one

Annalise FosberyGeraldton Guardian
New Geraldton Guardian gardening columnist Annalise Fosbery.
Camera IconNew Geraldton Guardian gardening columnist Annalise Fosbery. Credit: Kate Campbell

As a landscape architect, one of our first questions is “what is the purpose of your garden?”

“Are you looking to create a place to play, grow fruit and vegetables or create a pleasant outlook from inside your home?” Luckily a garden of any size can do any combination of these with some thoughtful planning. Even in a temporary or rental garden.

Today I wish to give you an insight into the productive aspects of my garden. In my last column I briefly wrote about vegie beds where I planted broccoli, sugar snap peas, carrots and climbing beans. They are located on the western side of the house so have sunlight from late morning through to the evening at this time of the year. The beds are also near my washing line, which I visit frequently so I notice when the soil is dry or if weeds are coming up.

Generally fruit and vegetables need six to eight hours of sunlight every day. So positioning pots or vegie beds so that they aren’t overshadowed by buildings, fences or dense canopies will ensure your plants thrive. They also require a fair level of attention, watering and maintenance so locate them in an easily accessible place.

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Herbs are a great place to start for a garden, they are easy to grow, work great in pots and can provide great rewards for relatively little effort. I keep them close to the door so we can duck out and pick them for cooking. I’ve always found oregano to be handy and hardy. It’s a great small ground cover too so could be planted in a flower bed to suppress weeds.

When it comes to herbs, plant what you often find yourself buying. If you’ve usually got parsley in the fridge, then buy a small plant and you’ll have fresh parsley on hand and some edible greenery in your garden.

Plant and grow what you can manage. When we rented I kept pots of tomatoes and bok choy between marigolds and snap dragons. Now is a good time of the year to sow peas or broad beans for spring, and rainbow chard which you can pick leaf-by-leaf for months. Mine are looking tired now but have been providing us with fresh leaves for nearly a year.

I like to mix some of my edible plants with ornamental plants for a couple of reasons. Mostly I love flowers, so the more the merrier.

If you are not sure something will work just have a go. This week I decided to try some artichoke seedlings in a flower bed. Artichoke grow large and are a bit spiky so I didn’t want them in a vegie patch where I’m trying to plant or harvest other vegies. They look beautiful with gracefully arching silver leaves and proud spires of purple flower heads. I’ve seen one as a feature plant right near the beach in Dongara and it looked excellent.

Sunny winter afternoons are a delight. With the sun on my back even the less glamorous jobs were pleasant. Creating interest in your garden is all about your point of view and I can’t wait to share more of my ideas with you.

Annalise Fosbery is a landscape architect who has recently returned to her hometown of Geraldton.

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