Community garden landscaping gets underway

Community garden works

Work will commence on street tree planting and community garden landscaping in a couple of weeks, now that the rains are finally easing and these spaces are starting to dry out a little. We appreciate everyone’s patience. Construction of the community garden sheds has started and our landscape contractor, LD Total, will follow in behind with the landscape works. This will start in Clusters 1A, 1B and 1C as a priority with the hope to be near completion prior to Christmas. We’ll then move onto Cluster 2A and 2B, then 3A and 3B early into the new year.

Street tree selection

The street tree selection for the verges underwent many changes but the species have now been ordered from Ellenby Tree Farm and will be going in very soon. Most verges will have a street tree, and some will have swales that have already been planted out by Tranen with Ficinia nodosa.

For the street tree selection and layout, we referred to books, such as Allan Jacobs’ “Great Streets”, and liaised with local landscape architect Bill James and Balingup’s Small Tree Farm. The overarching approach was to have consistency on both sides of the street using the same species placed evenly to create a strong avenue. Streets running east – west generally have deciduous trees except in cases where there is no risk of overshadowing, such as Kulbardi Way opposite the central dam.

Due to the restricted verge space caused by swales, we had to select a tree that could handle some ephemeral water inundation over winter. So for swale verges, the majority of street trees will be Macadamia or the native peppermint, Agonis flexuosa. Macadamias are an evergreen tree that grows 2-12m tall and has delicious nuts whose excess provides ‘fast food for cockies’. The peppermint trees grow 8-10m tall and will provide habitat to many native fauna. They’ve been placed to create a strong link between the different stages of the development.

Some of the deciduous tree selection includes Pin Oaks, Red Oaks, Pecans and Chestnuts. Where possible there are also citrus trees on verges, which are a mix of orange tree varieties. All street trees are planted with root guards so as not to cause any invasive damage to nearby infrastructure.

Fast food for cockies

Chad and Nicola from the Ecovillage landscape team attended the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects National Festival at Kings Park in mid-October where a range of speakers presented on the topic of ‘Spectacle and Collapse’. All presentations reiterated the need for more sustainable development and living that are all being encompassed by the Witchcliffe Ecovillage. Professor Kingsley Dixon’s presentation touched on the importance of growing nut trees in our landscapes to provide ‘fast food for cockies’ with one macadamia nut providing the nutrient density equivalence of 40 banksia seeds. Nut trees including pecans are in high demand and hard to source at the moment. Luckily, we have the tree stock for the Ecovillage secured.