garden update 31/3/17

Woo. Bigggg progress/suggestions post incoming! With LOTS of photos!
I am redoing a lot of the front yard to be low maintenance, and also prepping the backyard for permaculture planting. Would love some hints/advice/suggestions! I’ll start with the front yard, though (roughly in order of pictures – forgive the terrible quality of the photos). The house faces East so got a lot of good sun for the front in the morning as well as good sun for the backyard garden bed during the day where not obscured by trees. This is a RENTAL property – however landlord said I could plant whatever as long as it’s maintained! Currently living in Wollongong, NSW – temperate climate so we have very warm autumns and very little frost days.
So the first garden bed is a bit of a mess, for lack of a better term. So is the third one but we’ll get to that. What I am hoping to do here is spread the already established plants around to create a nice border and then fill in the spare gaps – I have some Alyssum, marigold and 2 varieties of Nasturtium in seedlings at the moment. Not sure which to plant as they may overtake. Also am trying to grow some chamomile and gypsophila, however they are taking their time and not sprouting. I am unsure what to do here. I will also be cutting the messy bush back (forgot what it’s called, starts with A, great for bees though!).
The garden bed at the front of the house is pretty standard stuff. There is a green cestrum which I am working on cutting back to it’s base and I’m trying to kill it but I’m not sure of the best way to do this as I’m trying to avoid poison. The leaves just keep sprouting back, though! Other than that, I want to prune back the rosemary, jade, “messy bush”, and plant some ground cover in there. There is something sprouting around the left hand side amongst the grass and I’m not sure what it is (I think they have daisy like flowers?) that I would like to spread along the border as well. Not sure what to fill in here, but would like to keep to what I am currently trying to grow.
The garden bed along the property wall Is going to take the most effort I think. There is another cestrum here that I am having issues with. I would like to prune off all the lower branches of the fig to give the plants underneath some breathing room – how would I stop the branches from growing back? Wrap with something? There are 2 Azaleas that I’d like to prune back into nice bushes, there is an orchid next to one that I’d like to keep there, and the geranium I’d like to move over by the other one near the front of the gate if possible. Hidden behind the branches of the fig is a couple of choking small rose bushes that I’d like to prune back, a chrysanthemum which I’m waiting for to bloom, and some mystery flowers around the right hand side (I think they are dahlias) which I also don’t know what to do with. I want to cut that cestrum back to the stump (not sure how), I have some Lucifer plants/bulbs out the backyard that I would like to relocate along the brick fenceline, then cover the rest with the Alyssum perhaps? Not sure. Would love suggestions, again.
Aaaaand now to the backyard and something of a puzzle for permaculture lovers! I have LOTS of things growing (root veggies, leafy greens, spinach, silverbeet, cauliflower&broccoli, carrots, snow pea/snap pea etc) and some already established (cherry tomatoes that are quite happy and won’t die if I move them into the sun – as well as some basil and some other plants in “plant hospital”) that I would love to get into the ground here. The main bed is about 3×10 meters.
I am trying to think of what to have along the garage wall (currently where the tomatoes, marigolds, parsley, coriander, and a few smaller basils) are growing. I want to move the larger marigolds to the garden bed to spread around for companion planting. I want to move the tomatoes over to the main bed alongside the established perennial basil (currently recovering from an accidental whiff of weedkiller). I am not sure what to plant next to the established comfrey and lavender (which needs to be pruned, and also has stinging nettle growing beneath it.) There is a divide there to another bed where I want to plant the peas so I can sit a trellis along the fence, but I need soil to put in there to fill up the garden bed. I did try to transplant some rosemary from the front (it was that or chuck it) but it looks like it’s decided to die instead. Shame.
Moving down towards the back, there is the garden bed behind the garage which is in the process of having all plants removed after 4o’clocks and other bulbs took over and started pushing the wood over. I’m planning on taking all the soil out, sifting out the bulbs, fixing the wood back up, moving the lucifers (in the sun on the right hand side – only gets a couple of hours in the afternoon) to the front yard with all their bulbs, and then planting my dark leafy greens and lettuce around here, as well as any herbs that may do well in the shade. Would LOVE some suggestions as to what to plant here to keep things off the lettuce and companion plant.
Along the fenceline towards the back of the property is currently getting overrun with weeds and grass, and is connected to behind the main garden bed. It doesn’t get much sun at all. There is currently a grapevine growing down the back which I want to tie up to some stakes/wire so it’s not on the ground. I also want to prune back that mess of a bush next to the compost bin – I’m thinking of setting up a mulching station/worm farm there. Would love to know of some things that I can plant along that fenceline, as well – I am really not sure what to do.
Then of course there’s the cherry tomato under the stairs that I cut back almost to the root but it’s kicking back with more produce on it. Wondering if I should just leave as is or give it some friends!
Woo, okay, that was a HUGE huge post. I appreciate any and all help and suggestions though! I have come so far already, but there is still soooo much to do!!