Russ Grayson

Autumn in the PIG

In Randwick's PIG, the cool winds of autumn herald the approaching winter of 2014

(above) Pawpaws fruiting in the shade next to a clump of banana trees. The photo above the pawpaw shows the flower of the pawpaw tree.
(above) Sunflowers bloom in the forest garden while the bright yellow of the pigeon pea (two above, right) with its pods of edible seed used like a split pea signals a plant that brings the nutrient, nitrogen, into the soil and so helps with garden fertilisation. Left of that we see the yellow button blooms of the herb, tansy, with the grey foliage of a globe artichoke behind.
(above) Kitchen garden.
(below) Early morning's moisture clings to the fine foliage of asparagus.
(above left) The track through the Australian plants garden is popular with children.
(below right) Flower of pumpkin growing as a groundcover in the forest garden.
A curious looking fungus comes up after rain. The leaves to the right are of the Australian bushfood, New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetrogoniodes), an inhabitant of sandy soils.
The herb echinacea growing in the forest garden.
Corn fruiting in the forest garden. The tassels atop the cobs are the flower of the corn.
Bright yellow blooms of the culinary herb, taragon, with the red of salvia and the magenta of cosmos with banana trees behind and asparagus growing from the straw mulch (right). There are plenty of flowering plants in the PIG, planted to attract pollinating bees, as the basis for the insect food web that contributes to insect pest management and to add to the biological diversity of the garden - the range of plant types and the insects, birds and small reptiles they attract.
(above) Path through the emerging forest garden.
(below) Inspecting plant roots to check for soil-borne plant disease.
(above) The PIG seen from the walkway into the garden. The Australian native plant garden, in the foreground, demonstrates low-water-use, low maintenance landscaping for homeowners not interested in using their home gardens to grow food. Edible bushfood plants have been established in the native plant garden. Eventually, the tree seedlings planted will bring a vertical, visual variety to the garden.

(below) The Garden, looking north from the performance place, shows, on left, a pergola with sandstone block seating that demonstrates the Fibonacci series of numbers, a common mathematical pattern found in nature. The kitchen garden is seen in front of the pergola/barbecue and, beyond the trellis at right, the native plant garden.
(below) on left is Fiona Campbell, Randwick Council sustainability educator who started the PIG project, and school program and seed saving educator, Jane Mowbray.

Photos: Russ Grayson 2014.
(above) Educator with Council's schools program and community gardener, Jane Mowbray, plants flowers into a patch of the vegetable, rocket, in the PIG.
(above) Seen over lemongrass, the kitchen garden area demonstrates a range of materials for making raised garden beds. Some are of suitable height and width so that the young children participating in the council's schools program can reach into them. Educational signage on the trellis explains the PIG to visitors.

(below) Looking over the kitchen garden towards the performance place from the pergola/public barbecue. Rainwater tanks on the right store rain falling on the pergola roof. From the tanks it trickles into a raised rain garden planted to common and Vietnamese mint and taro, then into a rill that takes it through the garden to the swale (infiltration trench) around the forest garden behind the structure.
AUTUMN is a time of change in the Permaculture Interpretive Garden - known as the PIG - as summer's heat starts to give way to winter's blustery southerlies.

The PIG is a multiple use public place, a city park and part of the Randwick Community Centre. It is used as an educational venue for Randwick City Council's community education program.

In its community education guise the community centre is known as the Randwick Sustainability Hub. In that role, the PIG is venue to council courses in Organic Gardening, Forest Gardening, Living Smart, a professional development course for early childhood educators and others, and for Council's educational program for preschool and primary school children.

It is also home to monthly Permabees that maintain the garden, workshops such as compost making, the annual International Permaculture Day and Fair Food Week, and to community swaps.

The PIG also features a public barbecue and pergola and an adjacent children's playground, public reedbed toilet, filtered water bottle filling station (with a drinking tap for dogs) and village green.

Construction of an outdoor classroom is scheduled for 2014.

Join me on this photographic tour of the PIG in late Autumn 2014...
(below) Looking south, a path leads through the area being developed as an edible forest garden, sometimes called a 'food forest'. Council's Forest Gardening course students do some of the garden development as do the monthly community working bees, the Permabees.

Young fruit trees have been established here and these will eventually form a canopy. They include a range of citrus, jobotacaba, persimmon, olive, black sapote, pawpaw, almond with bamboo, sugar cane and icecream bean (Inga edulis) as a windbreak on the garden's southern edge. A shrub layer has been established to occupy the middle-height space and a ground cover grows below that. The ground cover includes legume species such as vetch, alfalfa and clover that assist in fertilising the garden, the edible native plant, New Zealand spinach, a range of herbs and flowers (for bee forage), the edible vegetable, French sorrel and comfrey, the latter useful as a mulch.

The forest garden copies the structure of the bush, with a tree canopy, shrubby understorey and a ground layer of plants.