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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Spring at historic Lanyon Homestead

There’s lots happening at Lanyon Homestead this spring with head gardener Neil Walsh and the team working towards creating a living collection management plan, which will cover the what, when and why of current and future plantings at the homestead. Proposed innovations include the GPS mapping of grounds, planting beds and plantings and recording plantings, successes and challenges over time.

The team will also assess any future structural plantings for their hardiness and resilience from the ever-present and hard to deny change in climate and increasingly unstable weather patterns. These more reliable plants will provide protection and create micro-climates for less hardy underplantings.

Rustic and sturdy plant tripods made of Cupressus prunings sourced from on site.

There is a longer term vision at Lanyon Homestead to create interpretive garden spaces for education and the inspiration of visitors – working examples which gardeners can replicate in their own backyards.

Local eucalypt species are being planted on the property to replace those which have been lost over time and also to benefit future generations. Older existing trees in decline are being left to provide invaluable habitat for local wildlife.

The equally aesthetic and productive vegetable and berry patches and the fruiting tree orchards are in exemplary health thanks to the warming spring weather and regular maintenance program. Beds are seasonally dug over with manures and blood and bone, and seaweed extract is applied to new plantings. Generous layers of pea straw are also added to maintain moisture, protect the soil surface and keep out weeds.

Rustic and sturdy tripod supports for bean and tomato plantings have been fashioned from upcycled Cupressus prunings. Nearby, a lovely mix of sunflower varieties has been planted amongst the corn rows for support and to create outstanding blocks of colour.

There are plans to beat last year’s gargantuan effort at successfully growing an 82kg pumpkin in the pumpkin patch. Neil said aside from ensuring ample water and organic matter is applied, these purpose-bred whoppers need to be pruned back to a single pumpkin once they have reached around 15cm in diameter. To my amusement, Neil said that wedding planners have previously tried to coincide their special day with when these ridiculous and exciting oversized vegetables have reached full maturity.

Last year’s pumpkin patch, with one specimen weighing in at a hefty 82kg. Photo: Lanyon Homestead.

Integrated pest and weed management is practised at Lanyon Homestead, with cultural and organic control methods being the primary point of call. One example is the use of acetic acid (vinegar) mixed with salt and detergent for the control of herbaceous weeds.

Lanyon Homestead’s stock bed, used for propagation purposes.

The team are busy propagating and maintaining a living plant collection of the garden in their highly productive glasshouse. This includes the successful seed propagation of Bunya Pine seedlings from the mature trees at the homestead, with the intention of succession sowing for the future security of these majestic plants. This garden hub is surrounded by a lovely and colourful stock bed used for cutting material and seed harvesting, complete with a dry stone retaining wall.

Lanyon Homestead holds regular house and garden tours. You can also check out what’s happening via the Historic Places website and Instagram: historicplaces.com.au, @acthistoricplaces

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