Promoting the enjoyment, knowledge and benefits of gardens and gardening JOE!S CONNECTED GARDEN
Urban farming made easy
Backyards connected to the neighbours – for many, a beautiful image of our childhood, recreated here today. This is the second time we have opened our gardens – and our vision of simple community - to the public. Now that the nets are up, Joe’s Connected Garden no longer looks like an ordinary suburban backyard in Elizabeth, South Australia. It is now a protected oasis of connected neighbours who can finally reap the bounty of nearly 400 varieties of fruit, as well as herbs and vegetables, without the constant predations of our avian ‘friends’. Nets may not look pretty but the harvest is now guaranteed to reach human mouths! Not all neighbours have a passion for gardening, or even if we do, we differ in what we like to grow. What we have to offer each other is a place to grow things and a sense of respectful neighbourliness and trust that has transcended the suburban fences which normally divide us. For some of us, it means we do not need to keep cleaning up the seasonal grasses in our backyard, for others, weeds no longer scatter seeds over the fence. For all, it means something nice is fruiting throughout the year. As you will see, our gardens are not formally laid out or even very tidy, although this year, besides erecting nets, we have started to build more raised beds and quiet meditative corners. In putting the gardens together, we have tried to make them easy to maintain and accessible, because we don’t want to toil endlessly under the sun and hopefully you, as visitors, can learn how to create a garden that will produce maximum return for minimum effort (although mention and thanks must be made for the effort of volunteers who have come on Saturdays during the past few months to assist in heavier work for the latest makeovers). The gardens are designed on permaculture principles and managed using organic methods, with additional organic compost and mulches brought in. Each fruiting plant is placed in what we hope is an optimum position according to microclimate and competition, although we do need to give supplementary watering. On the opening weekend, volunteers from the Rare Fruit Society will provide both self-guided and accompanied tours of the gardens, describing the types of trees and fruiting plants to be found there, from common stone fruits and citrus, to the 8 metre avocado (which will be trimmed next year), to the pots with fruiting coffee and mango, to the big strawberry patch (where the owner’s idea of a punnet is a large ice-cream container). We will describe how we took heavy red alkaline clay that cracks in the summer and turned it into fertile and friable soils that support the productive orchards. Most of the fruit trees are now about four years old or less, yet are several metres high and highly productive. Open Gardens Australia is a self-funding, not for profit organisation dedicated to promoting the enjoyment, knowledge
and benefits of gardens and gardening in the Australian community. To encourage the gardeners of the future, children under 18
are admitted free of charge. Most of our income comes from the entry fee you pay to visit the gardens and part of this is dedicated
to funding community garden projects. Since 1987 over $1,100,000 has been given to projects across Australia. Our garden
owners also raise funds for charities and $5,000,000 has been given to worthwhile causes. Copies of the Open Gardens Guide
are available from www.opengarden.org.au, all good bookstores & newsagents, or by phoning (03) 5424 8061

Promoting the enjoyment, knowledge and benefits of gardens and gardening Most trees are pruned to about 2.5 metres for reduced watering and easy access to fruit and to net against blackbirds and doves in the fruiting season. We do summer pruning to maximise fruit and winter pruning of figs and any plants where we need to stimulate growth. This will be highlighted on the tours. This year our share of entry fees will be donated to the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, the Orangutan Project and to Arthritis SA. On the weekend, talks will be given by the Rare Fruit Society at 11 am and 2pm each day and members will be available for advice on growing both fruit and vegetables. There will be various stalls promoting edible gardening and sustainability topics and events. Summer pruning and planting demonstrations will be scheduled throughout the weekend and a variety of fruit trees and edible plants will be available very cheaply at wholesale prices or less. We will also have a low-cost sausage sizzle, with snacks and drinks available most of the day and with luck will once again have the live music entertainment which was such a hit last year. The gardens that open for us are chosen to reflect a great diversity of styles and may even challenge the conventional view of what constitutes a garden. While aspects of a garden may not be to your taste, we urge you to celebrate this diversity. Please remember you are visiting a private home and show respect and sensitivity for the owners who have so generously shared their garden with you. Being involved in Open Gardens Australia is a rewarding experience and you may like to consider opening your own garden. For more information please contact National Office on (03) 5424 8061.

Source: http://www.opengarden.org.au/notespdfs/2-8-9-sa-joesconnectedgarden.pdf

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