Saturday, November 9, 2013

Northcote Community Garden Orchard Map

This is a map of our Orchard (November 2013). (Sorry you may need a magnifying glass to read the names of the trees - I will put a bigger version of the map in the Orchard folder shortly) All trees planted seem to be thriving. The beehive will be placed in the orchard shortly - as soon as the bees have settled into their/our new hive.


Monday, November 4, 2013

November 2013 Working Bee

We had a great afternoon tea at the working bee today. Some of the great food included pikelets and NCG tree-ripened mulberry jam made by Dianne, cous cous by Christine, a broad bean salad by Heather, a broad bean salad by Elizabeth, (Tanya's) olives by Heather and olives by Rebecca.

Lots of much-needed mulching and weeding was accomplished around the perimeter of the gardens. We managed to neatly put back to the outside of the fence all the logs and wood that were carelessly thrown into the gardens by the mysterious mowing monsters.

We also discussed and walked around the proposed area for an extension of the gardens to the south. And we discussed the mowing along the outside of the gardens (along the east side next to railway lines).

Here are some photos taken today:
                                                                      afternoon tea

 Pierre de Ronsard rose (named in reference to Ronsard's (1524 -1585) poem "Ode to Cassandra")
Here's the poem:

Mignonne, allons voir si la rose
Qui ce matin avoit desclose
Sa robe de pourpre au Soleil,
A point perdu, ceste vesprée,
Les plis de sa robe pourprée,
Et son teint au votre pareil.
Las ! voyez comme en peu d’espace,
Mignonne, elle a dessus la place
Las, las, ses beautés laissé choir !
O vraiment marâtre Nature,
Puis qu’une telle fleur ne dure
Que du matin jusques au soir !
Donc, si vous me croyez, mignonne,
Tandis que votre âge fleuronne
En sa plus verte nouveauté,
Cueillez, cueillez votre jeunesse :
Comme à cette fleur la vieillesse
Fera ternir votre beauté.
and in English:
Darling, let's see if the rose
Who this morning had desclose
His purple robe Sun,
A lost point, cestus vespers,
The folds of her purple dress,
And your complexion like.
Alas! see as little space
Cute, she has over the place
Weary, weary, let fall its beauties!
O really stepmother Nature
Can such a flower lasts
That the morning even to the evening!
So if you believe me, cute,
While your age blossomed
As greener novelty,
Pick, pick your youth:
As this flower old age
Will tarnish your beauty.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Orchard is Planted (September 2013 Working Bee)

What a great working bee today on this beautiful spring Sunday. There was a great flow of energy as we planted out our orchard. Everyone worked together to plant 20 (mostly dwarf heritage) fruit and nut trees. Work was also done on the beehive - it's almost ready for this spring, and on the upper pond - landscaping and planting out of a lavender field mixed with native plants. Three systems - beehive, pond & lavender plants, and fruit & nut trees - which will increase the productivity and resilience of our community gardens.

The trees planted were: blood orange, lemonade, washington navel orange,honey murcott mandarin, lisbon lemon, australian lime, josephine de maline pear, packham's triumph pear, stella cherry, goldmine nectarine, fresno peach, almond, 4 hazelnut trees (ennis and three pollinisers- casina, jemtegard 5, butler), pink lady apple, jonagold apple, opalescent apple, buncomb apple, cox orange pippin apple, pomegranate, yellow cherry guava.

Also, we planted some wattles to fix nitrogen and aid the fruit and nut trees: 4 black wattles (acacia mearnsii), 4 silver wattles (acacia dalbata), a gold dust wattle (acacia acinacea). And we planted a golden tip (goodia lotifolia).

Here are some photos of the day:
Dianne planting lemon tree

Heather (watering) & Dianne planting stella cherry, Ros in background

Ross and Heather planting washington navel orange, Rebecca in background
Biggles, Rebecca & Chris
Liz digging the hole for the jonagold apple
Winter harvest from the orchard
Chris, Marijka
Christine, Ros and Chris

Christine and Luke
Fig tree, and phone tower that started the gardens (community opposition to tower) in 1995

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hives, wicking beds and AGM next Sunday, August 18th.

Plus Alistair is expanding the "Wicking bed" experiment, now there is one near Luke's plot and on Christine and Alistair's plot...we will be watching how they go with interest.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


This post is a copy from the BEE BUZZ page.

 Drawing the comb downwards (video)

"This is a great little video from Gaia Bees, an American natural beekeeper doing some very interesting work in bee colony resilience and apicentric beekeeping.
The super interesting thing about this video is that it clearly shows how, in a ‘wild hive’, the colony starts at the highest point of the cavity, and draws their comb downwards. This is precisely what Emile Warré was trying to mimic with the way his ‘people’s hive’ worked, and with his approach to beekeeping… " quote from

 Read about the Warre style of beekeeping, another method of using a topbar hive at the above address.

More information and loads more videos on natural beekeeping (as well as the sunhive) at this address, with a stack of resources if you wish to continue to learn more about bees.

posted marijka


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Alistair has written an article on Christine's and his journey to France for her uncle's wedding.. Check it out on our Gardeners' page.

Christine and Nico Painting on letterbox.


Friday, June 21, 2013

June- Bee Hive Construction and Pussy Willow Destruction...

Mid Winter here in Melbourne and lots happened last Sunday- it was quite a "hive" of activity.(Sorry- but I couldn't resist that one!)
Marijka marshalled the troops and set Vince and Josh on to the construction of our Top-Bar bee hive with a little personalised NCG symbol burnt onto the side. It all came together well thanks to Marijka's research and direction, and while the sawing and nailing was happening Pia, Marijka and I melted some beeswax and linseed oil (thank-you Pia) to rub into the finished hive. (Although some people did have trouble waiting until the hive was actually built before waxing it...not mentioning any names).

Meanwhile, Alistair, Ian and Chris were chain-sawing down the Pussy Willow tree by the pond in preparation for our new orchard and berry grove. It's always a bit traumatic to cut down a tree when you're a lover of trees, but this one really did need to go in order to make way for new, more productive trees.
It was done with great flair and efficiency I must say, and it was quite a show to watch it being pulled down- we are such a multi-talented bunch aren't we?

Friday, February 15, 2013

February, sunflowers, bees and zucchinis!

Despite a horrible dry Summer we have all managed to grow an abundance of zucchinis (see below or Recipe page for Christine's zucchini pickle recipe) and the sunflowers have been very happy this year- so of course the bees have been too! Our very first harvest of honey from our hive and the Rooftop Honey folk was so spectacularly delicious that Alistair and Marijka are plotting to get another hive so we can have MORE honey, and there's been lots of debate about bee-keeping methods and how to go about it.
We had a good turn out for our last working bee and it was lovely to have Heather and Rebecca the Younger (to quote Marijka) back from their overseas adventures.
Now it's time to start thinking about Autumn and Winter crops- and wishing for some rain!

Christine's Zucchini Pickle
1 kg of them small over-abundant zucchinis
2 medium onions
1/4 cup salt
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp dry mustard

slice unpeeled zucc and onions
put them in bowl and cover with water, add salt. stand one hour and drain.
mix remaining ingredients and bring to boil, pour over veg, stand one hour
bring mixture to boil and cook covered 10 minutes
stir gently to prevet breaking the zucchinis
bottle and seal.

Posted by Rebecca the Elder.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The day it happened Rebecca's drawing class.

The old northcote community gardens shed (beloved) felt something it had never felt before. Peace and quiet settled inside  as Chris the Younger and Pauline began drawing..under the watchful eye of Rebecca who with helpful explanations and gentle reassurances moved the situation along and an occasional 'mild'  "You can do it...Just do it..." from Marijka..

.... and as the sunflowers did their joyful, splendiferous thing on Rebecca's plot happened, drawing was done..upside down and unrecognisable.  But as he turned his drawing the right way round, Chris the Younger was open mouthed, no words came out ...There it was for all to see, a real drawing...See below...

In the meantime the rest of the gardeners did their usual thing,  weeding and chatting, both a favourite pastime..Alistair behind the fence talking to the weeds threatening them with extinction..and Jess of the famous red hair...of which very little to be seen... hardly recognisable, but still beautiful and oh! oh! that hat...
"Where did you get that hat? Where did you get that hat?" .

Christine: " Look I found one.." great excitement it's a black russian..tiny...
The beginning of the new sign...designed and being executed by  Rebecca More to look forward to.
Rebecca in a thoughtful mood... 

 Pauline and Chris discussing the miraclulous and ever fascinating Zucchini growing on her plot.

Christine's cosmos...blowing in the wind..

Photos: marijka
Published: marijka