Last Saturday we attended the propagation workshop put on by Marrickville Council. We joined about eleven others at Marrickville Council Nursery for a lesson on propagating given by a Horticulturist from Ryde TAFE. She explained the benefits of propagating, then showed us how prune cuttings, how cuttings grow, as well as how to prepare & plant to get the best chance of survival.
We then went on a bus trip around Marrickville to three verge gardens to get cuttings to start our own plants. One of the verge gardens was in Riverside Crescent Dulwich Hill. I wrote about this in January 2013. See – http://bit.ly/1oMD5WY This group of three verge gardens has really developed well & looks terrific. The impact of the streetscape is enormously positive.
We visited another couple of long gardens along the railway line in Arthur Avenue Marrickville, which was a credit to the resident who created this. They add much beauty to an area that was inherently ugly. It’s now an area of habitat & really improves the streetscape.
We also visited the 2012 National Tree Day site alongside Beauchamp Street at the Marrickville Golf Course to get cuttings of a particular plant whose name I forget. I wrote about this event, so you can see what it originally looked like – http://bit.ly/1vxGryQ I have posted photos of all three sites.
The bus driver was a delight & really quite a motivating person. He has worked for Marrickville Council as a member of the team that looks after our streets for 26-years & obviously loves both the Council & the area. His is an undervalued job, but without clean streets & mowed verges our municipality would probably look neglected. These guys work hard all year round.
The driver spoke about how much they need to clean the streets at this time of year when the deciduous trees start losing their leaves. If I remember correctly, one Marrickville street has to be cleaned three times a week while the leaves are dropping & a whopping 4-tonnes of leaves are collected every week.
Unfortunately, the leaves are taken to landfill because of impurities such as car oil, cigarette butts & other types of litter. He mentioned that Council has some statistics on street cleaning, so I will request these & post about them later if I am allowed to have them.
One other thing of interest is that Council is gradually changing the verge grass to a Soft Leaf Buffalo, as this species grows slower than other grasses. Maybe this is a good choice for our home gardens as well. We have Sir Walter in our garden & it is a lovely grass, but it does grow very fast.
Marrickville Council spends $2-million per year to mow the verges, so verge gardens are a sensible option to reduce this cost.
When we returned to the Nursery we prepared our cuttings & planted them. Council was quite generous providing us each with a plastic container with lid that acts like a mini-greenhouse. They also gave us a pair of secateurs & some decent gardening gloves each, as well as notes to refer to later.
Preparing the cuttings was fun & also another opportunity to learn & be shown where you could improve on your technique. I had to redo mine, as I didn’t make my cuttings small enough. We each left the workshop with 24 new native plants that we prepared ourselves. Now we wait & care for them & hope that they grow. Those that do will be planted on the verge for the benefit of both the community & the wildlife.
It was a really nice workshop – relaxed, fun & informative. I loved that we learnt about propagating native plants because I have always thought they would be more difficult to do than non-natives. Not so. Some cuttings might not be successful, but seeing what does work is part of the fun of propagating. It is a great way to keep costs down & of course a great way to share plants with neighbours & other verge gardeners.
I thank Marrickville Council, the Sustainable Streets program & Ryde TAFE for this workshop. I highly recommend doing this workshop if you get a chance. You will gain confidence in a skill that will save you money & help you fill your verge & garden with plants that you have sourced & grown yourself. There has to be much satisfaction in that.
Each little patch that gets beautified in our municipality will have a positive impact on everyone who passes. Our verge garden used to be the local rubbish dump. Now it is rare to find litter in this area as, on the whole, people respect beauty & the effort others have put in to making the streetscape nicer for everyone. The birds will move in as well, if you have planted with them in mind, & birdsong makes a place much nicer.