Country towns are turning green! - Jan 15, 2021

I've got Egg plants growing out my ears.

Country towns are reinventing themselves and turning green.
Tumbarumba came to my attention accidentally.
I'd been stopped by the stop go man in Tumut, and I got talking to him about how beautiful Tumut was.
"No mate, Tumbarumba is the prettiest town".

He was the stop go man, he had tattoos all over him, but he was happy to describe his home town as pretty.

Turns out it was pretty.
Concrete has been dug up to make gardens that are all cared for by a team of volunteer gardeners.

Trimmed Buxus hedges and perennials planted to give year round colour.

Gundagai was once famous for a Dog that sat on a tucker box, but now it's famous for it's beautiful tree lined Main Street.

The town has recently been transformed with greenery.

White flowering Crepe Myrtles have been planted as street trees. These have been under planted with native grasses.

The people from Gundagai have always loved their town by the river but now they love it even more.

Tumut has always had beautiful Poplar trees that colour up in autumn and put on a show. But as I drove through yesterday I could see this town had a buzz about it.

Gleditsias and Plane Trees line the Main Street. Crepe Myrtles are being mass planted on the outer streets and they are looking amazing.

Did it all start in Mudgee?
This boutique country town got reinvented when they planted Manchurian pear trees in the Main Street. These spring blossom, fast growing shade trees, also colour up in autumn.

What all these towns have discovered is that trees make tourists stop.
When you see shade, you are more likely to park your car.

You are more likely to buy coffee and visit the shops.

Recently I drove through Goulburn.
I didn't stop at Macdonald's.
I decided to find a local Cafe instead.

The Roses Cafe, which is opposite beautiful Belmore Park was an "oasis of cakes."

The historic park opposite has the most beautiful shade trees.

But what really got me excited was seeing the Main Street getting treescaped.

Manchurian Pear trees on both sides of the street and more trees down the centre.
What a "pretty town" it will be.
Trees make people happy.

I love it when homeowners take ownership of a tree that's been planted on the nature strip by council or the developer.

I spotted this tree lined street in Harrington Park. The home owner has put a border around their tree, to stop the grass from growing around the trunk.

They have used pebbles as mulch.
The Crepe Myrtle Tuscarora are covered in flowers and new growth.

As I drove up the street the Crepe Myrtles were struggling to survive with grass growing right up to the trunks.

These unloved trees had no flowers and no new growth.

If you replace the grass with mulch your tree gets more water. This is so important in the first few years, to get your tree established.

Some homeowners don't want their street trees to grow because it will stop people from seeing their big houses.
I feel sorry for these people.

I've got egg plants and cucumbers coming out my ears here at the moment.

I've grown Thai Egg plants and Fairy Tale varieties for the first time.
They have amazing coloured fruit.
They are so beautiful just to look at.

I'm hiding chopped up Egg plant in everything I cook at the moment.
They add so much goodness to spaghetti sauces and curries.
They disappear so the kids wouldn't have a clue what they are eating.

They say the more colours you can put in your cooking the healthier it will be.
I'm making Egg plant chutney now.

I'm expecting a bumper crop from my two Olive trees. They are both covered in fruit this year.

There is much confusion about Olive trees.
I often get asked for a green or black fruiting varieties.

All Olive trees produce green fruit, that turn black, when they are ripe.

It's up to you, if you pick them green, or black.

But when they do turn black, pick them quickly, because that's when the birds start to devour them.

Almost everyone asks for Kalamata Olives, but the most widely grown variety in Australia is Manzanillo.

This Spanish Olive is the variety you can see growing in my garden.

The fruit have a smaller seed per flesh ratio and the seed comes away from the seed easily when you eat it.

This variety is also used for oil production, and it's a lovely green colour when pressed.
The Agriculture Department ran a field trial of 14 varieties in Mildura and Manzanillo was the highest yielding variety.

The good news is Olive trees grow well in Macarthur.
The grey green foliage makes them highly suited to our hot dry climate.

They grow quickly to about 5 metres high by 3 metres wide.

They can be pruned to any height.
They can even be grown in a large pot.
They make beautiful shade trees for your garden. They have an old world charm about them.

They suit all styles of gardens.

When we get lots of rain in spring and summer you'll get bumper crops.
But they do fruit every year.
You only need one tree to get fruit.

To cure fruit.
Pick them when they are large either green or black.
Wash fruit.
Put them in jars that have been sterilised using boiling water.
Put a metal spoon in the jar to stop the jars from cracking with the heat.
Fill jars almost to the top with fruit.
Fill jars with cold water.
Add a table spoon of salt.
Top up jar with Olive oil.
This stops the air from getting to the fruit.
Seal with a lid.
Store in a cool cupboard.
They can take 6 months before they are ready to eat.
The salt marinates the Olives.
When they are ready to eat garnish with Rosemary, Lemon and Garlic.
Thank you to Frank for this recipe.
Olive trees are usually pest free.
They are easy to grow.
They could be used on acreage for informal hedges.
We have Olive trees here today.
Zoom zoom.

Happy gardening