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Mary and John’s Garden, San Remo

Mosaics, hydroponics and a densely planted urban food forest

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Veggies 🥦   Berries 🍓   Fruits 🍋   Chickens 🐔

Meet the gardeners and their garden

Mary and John’s garden demonstrates how much food can be grown on a standard suburban block.  If you follow the elaborate, mosaic-lined pathways, you will find a veritable food forest.  It’s hard to believe that there are about 50 fruit trees in their back garden, including dwarf peach, blood plums, lemons and figs.  Vegetables are grown directly into the soil, in raised beds, and in home-made wicking beds.  Some happy chickens are well-hidden in the back corner chook pen, although they are let out occasionally to work their magic on tired vegetable beds.

How does your garden grow?

We try to use every space possible for growing food, including vertical gardening. Along one side of our driveway, we have installed a hydroponics system.  Plants, such as tomatoes, are grown in autopots which are filled with vermiculite and then nourished through feeder systems.  This means that we can go away for longer holidays without worrying as much about the garden!  Along the other side of the driveway, we have used trellising and espaliering to fit in even more fruit trees and berries.

What are some of your gardening challenges?

With so many fruit trees, birds and possums are always a challenge.  We find we often have to trim back some large trees to prevent the possums performing aerial acrobatics!  Tree guards sometimes help, as does bagging of heavily-laden fruit branches as the fruit ripens.

Be inspired and learn!

Mary says: I like to combine vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers in close proximity to one another, rather than planting beds with only single species.  Blended planting attracts bees and other pollinators; it also reduces food loss as pests get distracted and do not have single vegetable bed feasts.

Garden extras

Ask Mary for advice about how to espalier and graft fruit trees. Check out her orchid house/shade house which includes many species of orchids.  

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