An old fence at the top of the Olive Grove Slope
The Olive Grove slope in winter
Before we planted the olive trees in 2001, we had put in paths across the slope which took our ride on mower with attached trailer quite easily. The other great aspect of the slope was that it can be viewed from the west bank of the house so it was great to be able to look and imagine vistas (which I did quite often). Drought tolerant trees such as Jacarandas, Brachychitons, Grevilleas, Frangipanis, Crepe Myrtle, Dombeyas and Euphorbia Cotinifolia have been added to create more colour
Prior to putting in the olive trees a dam had been excavated at the lowest point, but unfortunately it did not hold water and the sides of the dam were even steeper than the rest of the slope. However when it did fill it did add a lovely dimension to the whole area and I began by adding clumps of bamboo around it.
To retain the soil and mulch I decided to use sleepers as these could be staked in with pickets cut into two. I was afraid that if I placed rocks, they would dislodge and tumble down the slope. I started placing sleepers across the slope about a meter above the paths. Having the paths made it easy for me to take soil and mulch above the sleepers and shovel the soil into place.
We had planned a gazebo similar to the famous one at Nooroo (Mount Wilson NSW) at the top of the slope and in July 2010, Jim proudly completed it in resplendent white, which really stands out. It is beautifully set off by cast iron lace panels which we had re-painted also in white. This meant that I really had to make a lovely garden to complement it. Our son in law gave us an old fence and after widening the path to the ‘Nooroo’ gazebo we put in the fence which just has 3 posts and 4 rails that fit into the posts. It was amazing how this fence anchored the area and ‘announced’ the walk to the gazebo. I have planted a lovely dark red climbing rose on the fence and started planning the garden around it.
Because water is an essential ingredient to a garden, we are always looking for new ways of conserving and capturing rainwater run off. As well as roof area we utilize our drive and arena to capture run off. Currently we have 8 x 3000 gallon and 9 x 5000 gallon tanks from which we pump water to all the gardens around the house via a sprinkler system.
In 2014 we decided to re-do our dam that had never held water. We excavated the dam wall so that it is lower and wider and put in a road from the bush houses down to the wall to enable us to get 3 more tanks down to this site.
Jim revamped the existing water capture systems to take the water from the No 8 slope directly into the tanks instead of into the dam. In 2018 we put our first tank into No 12 to feed the Eremophilas.
The lower entrance to the Olive Grove slope
The Gazebo named Nooroo on the top of the olive grove slope
In 2017 we added more paths to the slope below No12 Belah Street and into No 10 (which is adjacent and behind). We also put in a tank site to get water from the house at No 12 and opened up the path from No 12 to the new paths.
In May 2017, I bought 60 Eremophilas in small pots and planted them one metre apart in the earth that had been moved for the paths. We then put in sleepers on the downhill side, filled it with soil and mulched the new garden beds with sugar cane mulch. With good follow up rain, most of the Eremophilas survived. I did water them over the dry winter/early spring before we had good rain in October/November.