Please excuse some of these earlier images as they are scanned from photo's. As you can see in the top image the hurricane fencing is being dismantled with all the mesh gone and the posts yet to be removed, having the posts only gave me an idea that was to become part of my new front garden.
If you look closely at the balcony you will see a gaping hole in the timber in the bottom left-hand corner...rot...birds had actually set up camp inside! Also...the boards that made up the railing were not only horrendously unsafe for children but just plain chunky and unsightly and blocked the vista from inside to outside when you sat on the couch upstairs. There was also a new(ish) garage door as the other one had given up the ghost when the tenants still lived here...and yes...more weedy grass. One of the other things I did was to move some Dietes Iridioides (Native Irises) and Dietes Bicolor from the back to the front, you can see these in the top image, though they were to be moved one more time after this...still in the same position only now in a raised / mounded garden bed...much nicer :)
The following images will show that it is still pretty much the same as in 1998:
Above: The first thing I did was relocate the Hills Hoist to the back left-hand corner of the yard...which is actually a much sunnier spot anyway. My mum set about pruning trees and shrubs and dumped everything under the Norfolk Pine - which I later moved and wound up with this pile of stuff to get rid of...
Above: The Eucalyptus, on the left-hand boundary, was pruned back hard and came back good for a little while but as you can see it was in pretty bad shape and pruning it didn't really help in the long run (I was to later find out this can cause all sorts of problems). This was one of the diseased trees I removed at the same time the Coastal Banksia sadly got the chop recently and where I now have the second planting of Murraya's which will eventually grow to cover the awful fence as well as providing privacy from neighbouring properties - there is now a two-storey property two doors down with some windows facing in this direction.
Above: This is the Coastal Banksia that is still standing but it too is just about at the end of its life-span as has been incorrectly pruned over the years (not by me) and has been showing signs of distress but I'm leaving it as long as I can before it has to come down. My favourite bird family lives in these trees, the Wattle birds and I would hate for them to be forced out of my garden...even though they don't stick to this tree alone, it is definitely a favourite of theirs.
Above: This is Max in the long grass...not long after I brought him home. I rescued him from a shelter at Mirrabooka from a lovely lady who takes in abandoned and abused cats. He was found under a skip bin at McDonalds somewhere on Lake Macquarie and we estimated his age then to be about 7 months, though I'll never know for sure. I got him to keep my older cat, Jed, company, another rescue cat...and they loved each other as soon as they met >(*!*)< and I love them both dearly as they have the most beautiful personalities. Both my cats are desexed, wear collars with bells and are in at night time...something I would wish all cat owners would do as unfortunately cats have a pretty bad reputation but it's the humans who domesticate them that are at fault...cats just do what comes naturally and if you let them out at night they are going to hunt (or be hunted or run over)...if you dump them in the bush they are going to become feral and hunt...not their fault at all...just doing what comes naturally...same as dogs...
The next three images are views from up higher which gives a better overall picture of the back yard...or how it was when I first arrived.
- Dietes Iridioides: Common name - Native Iris; Habit - strap leaves; Approximate size - 1m x 05m; Conditions - drought, full sun, part shade, well-drained soil; Features - flowers and berries, foliage, low maintenance; Common Use - rockeries, mass planting, roadsides and verges.
- Dietes Bicolor: Common name - Yellow Peacock Flower / Wild Yellow Iris; Habit - strap leaves; Approximate size: 1m x 1m; Conditions - full sun, part shade, high wind, second line salt wind, low frost; Common Use - mass plantings, borders, paths and fence lines
- Araucaria heterophylla: Common name - Norfolk Pine; Habit - single upright trunk with horizontal tiered branches tapering out towards the bottom in a pyramid shape; Approximate size: 25m; Conditions - full sun, adapts to most soils, drought tolerant, performs well in coastal conditions; Features - evergreen, dark green needle-like leaves formed in a spiral arrangement; Common Use - suitable for parks and large gardens
- Banksia Integrifolia: Common name - Coastal Banksia; Habit - silvery underleaf; Approximate size - 5-8m; Conditions - sandy soils, free draining slightly acidic soil with low nutrient levels, coastal conditions, low maintenance; Features - beautiful element to landscape, attracting birds and other wildlife to their nectar-rich flowers; Common use - large gardens and nature reserves