Mother, Dog Owner, Partner, Gardener, Teacher, Tree Hugger
Janegrowsgardenrooms began on Instagram when I decided to “document” the work we were doing to landscape and rehabilitate our little piece of Australia. When we bought the 3 acre property it had been slashed and grazed for decades. There were still grazing animals accessing the block through damaged fencing and a collapsing dam wall. We fixed the fencing and started the on going process of removing lantana and running bamboo. After only a few weeks I was stunned to see new plants appearing. As I researched and identified them I was delighted to discover that most were endemic to the area. So many Australian natives are amazingly resilient. Their rootstock or seeds lie dormant for years waiting for favourable conditions, like the Love Flower (Pseuderanthemum variabile) which is favoured by grazing animals and can survive being eaten down to the ground over and over again. After every rain their rootstock sends up more greenery and flowers to sprinkle the bush floor with pastel stars that feed the bees. Now we’re about three and a half years into the adventure and it feels like progress is very slow. With two young children and full time jobs we can go for weeks at a time without getting into any landscaping work, but if I go back to those first memories, progress is evident. Memory plays funny tricks and it’s easy to lose perspective. These things I know: the block has more biodiversity in terms of birds, insects and plants, it’s greener than it used to be and it’s far more pleasant to explore. I would love to see an increase in mammals and reptiles. Fingers crossed they’re on their way…
Update: March 2023
They were on their way! By the time we left the property in April 2022 we were seeing more frogs, more beneficial insects, more possums and more lizards. I was sad to move away but excited about taking all the lessons from my South-east Queensland garden to the Wet Tropics.
I have now started new garden rooms on the Cassowary Coast. The new property is slightly smaller but has a remnant rainforest complete with creek! There’s a whole range of new species to discover and some of the South-east Queensland species’ northern cousins as reminders of what we left behind. Right now the block is recovering from years of herbicides and pesticides. The struggle is real but I know from experience that soon the beneficial insects will increase and the frogs will come as we reduce the Cane Toad population. Here’s to a new journey!