We missed the October snowstorm in the Blue Mountains by a week, dammit. But as we walked the historic (if annoyingly snow flake free) National Pass last weekend I suddenly realised why my callicoma serrata has been struggling in its spot right next to a humungous, thirsty pine tree.
Despite the lack of a 200 metre waterfall in our garden, our black wattle is finally enjoying life enough to flower. A rainy August probably helped, but I reckon our extreme torpor also played a role. A few weeks back, our helpful neighbours stacked the severed remains of a casuarina tree on our side of the fence, right round the base of the callicoma. It took us a while to move the logs into the woodshed and I suspect the callicoma enjoyed the hyper-mulch experience.
This unexpected flowering made me think again about hugelkultur – growing stuff in raised beds on top of a moisture-absorbing stack of rotting logs. The idea has some appeal and it’s not just the fact that the word reminds me of delicious German pastries. I’ve sometimes toyed with ad hoc terracing of the part of the garden into which storm water is unceremoniously decanted after big rain. Since the yard is full of piles of wood, “hugelswales” (surely the name of a lime green chest of drawers in the IKEA children’s department) may be the way forward.
I admit, there’s a faintly faddish feel about the hugeltalk. I’ve got a pretty good idea that eventually it will go the way of my superannuated chicken dome, parked up like a rusted out combi van at the bottom of the paddock, only used by weary, equally superannuated chickens. But what the hell, may as well give this hippie thing a bit of a spin before we put her up on the blocks.