Ollas

It’s coming into Summer and I’ve been trying to work out how to minimize the time I spend watering especially on hot days. It takes me about an hour to water half the garden. Big Eucalypts raid any water supply their roots can reach so my fruit trees and vegetables are almost all in pots. I didn’t want lengths of irrigation pipe visible but that’s what I now have, I’m trying Ollas.

Mine are home-made and not pretty but they’re to be buried so as long as they work I’ll be happy.

I used silicone intended for use in aquariums because I was confident that wouldn’t contain any dangerous chemicals. I was generous with it because I wanted it to fill any little gaps.

The unglazed terracotta pots are quite rough around the holes and need to be smoothed down to avoid leaks.

Sandpaper works well.

 

I used a small tile inside the pot to cover the hole in the base.

I put extra silicone on the base.

After sanding two pots were glued together, only the bottom one has the hole covered.

The top holes needed to be widened to allow a Top-hat grommet to be fitted. The grommet ensures a good seal.

A Top-hat grommet

A section of pipe is inserted into the grommet if the pot will be well below the feeder line.

This pot has a barbed T poly fitting inserted directly into the grommet.

Barrel reservoir raised to allow for gravity feeding of the water.

The water container is food grade.

Slope made the task trickier.

The feeder line delivers water to each submerged clay pot.

These pots needed a piece of pipe from the grommet to reach the feeder pipe. The last pot in this line only has an elbow fitting. A venting tube is at the end of the row of pots in the background.

A smaller setup with only four pots fed from a small water container. The clear venting pipe in the last pot shows there is water in the system.

 

 

 

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Times Past: Remembered Plants

Irene Waters has taken up another blogger’s suggestion, plants and gardens, for this month’s memoirs.

I’m an Australian, city raised, Baby Boomer.

As I look around my garden now I see things I’ve planted because they bring back happy memories of time spent with my grandparents. I planted a Mulberry Tree because they always remind me of climbing high up the massive one they had in their backyard. I have “Lamb’s Ears” in a pot, I discovered the velvety texture of their leaves where they were growing around the border of Nana’s fish pond. I have a lush fern garden which I always associate with Nana. The path meandered around their backyard with shrubs and trees creating lots of secluded little places.

At home we had a very long lawn along the side of the house, it had been used for playing Bowls and we made good use of it, running through sprinklers in the summer, upending bikes to fix tyres, playing on the swing and rocker as well as doing gymnastics.

Mum worked on the flower beds out the front and along the side while Dad took on all the vegies and fruit trees out the back.

The house was old and for a long time there was a Wisteria covered arch out the front, in September it was wonderful walking under the perfumed, blue flower sprays. Plants I remember Mum growing were Geraniums, Pelargoniums, Coleus, Cinerarias and Dahlias. She always fussed about with Dahlias she cut, singeing the ends before putting them in water. Lilies, including black ones, appeared each year and a Japonica bush with it’s bright flowers on almost bare stems. I loved it when the Guelder Rose bush flowered with its big, white pompom blooms. We kids had fun with the fruit from an old wild peach tree, lining the peaches across the road then waiting for a car to come and squash them.

When we first moved to the house in 1953 the back yard was full of fig trees, all but one were bulldozed and a variety of fruit trees took their places. We ate apricots, almonds, peaches, nectarines, oranges and mandarins, whatever was in season. There seemed to be lemons at any time of year. Grape vines grew along a wire trellis and I loathed coming home at night when spiders would be hanging from the vines and I’d invariably walk face first into a sticky web. Dad also grew tomatoes, sweetcorn and different melons. I lived overseas for seven years and received a letter from Dad once a year, I guess seeing the almond tree in bloom reminded him I wasn’t there because each time his letter told me the tree was in blossom.

In my garden I have Grape Vines, a Lemon Tree, two Fig Trees and a Hibiscus all grown from cuttings taken from the old house. The Snowflakes and Grape Hyacinths which are shooting up now also came from there. I didn’t realize just how many memories were linked to my plants and garden.

 

 

 

 

 

Bottle Garden

In January 2015 I was inspired to start a bottle garden after seeing this post by Woodland Gnome. I decided to go with a closed system because it’s a constant reminder of how our earth operates. Last week I was thrilled to see a little flower blooming in the mini-world.

The ecosystem in January 2015

The ecosystem in January 2015

 

bottle2

The first flower opened in February 2016

I think the difference in leaf colour is due to flash being used in the second photo but I’ll do some research on fertilizing in a closed system in case something is missing in the soil.

Mosaic Butterfly

mosaic-butterfly

Once again I had trouble with the adhesive I mixed so I won’t use it again. I was a little disappointed that the green glass beads don’t reflect as nicely as the others but I’m satisfied that I’m learning more with each mosaic I make. This one is hanging at the back of the fern garden for now.