Caged Strawberries

“One must ask the children and the birds how cherries and strawberries taste.” ~ Goethe

I have quite a few free-range strawberries growing in the garden.  Unfortunately for me, I don’t eat that many.   If the ants, slaters of slugs don’t get them first, my own spawn usually gobble them up at first sight.

But, as I was browsing through the June issue of Australian House and Garden, I discovered an elegant solution.  The magazine had done a feature on the Melbourne Garden Show.  One of the Gold medal  winning landscapes was the work of Jason Guthrie and Stuart Hodges from Green Art Gardens.  While not a veggie patch, his garden caught my eye.

Titled “Spare Change” it was great to see how much of the garden had incorporated recycled and upcycled materials.   I especially loved the birdcages hanging in a cluster with plants inside!  I was determined to make some for myself.

Luckily for me, a quick search of the classifieds found a collection of 5 birdcages, all for the princely sum of $35.00.  As you can see, they looked pretty rusty, ratty and broken, but it didn’t matter.  They were perfect for me.

The cache of birdcages, soon to be transformed....

One domestic disagreement and 8 cans of spray paint later, my lovely, obliging Husband had eventually painted them all matt black.

When dry, I lined each cage with hessian, filled with potting mix and potted “Temptation” strawberries inside and surrounded them with a good layer of sugarcane mulch. As they grow, the plants will likely spread outside the cage and the fruit can drip down the sides.

One caged strawberry, ready to grow without pestering.

Since the cages themselves were not designed to hold the weight of more than a few budgies, I wired the bases to the cages with black coated wire and a made a few extra reinforcements where required.

And here you have them,

The completed caged strawberries.

I have hung them in the safety of the greenhouse where they can have a bit of shelter allowing them to establish.  Also, as a precautionary measure, if they went crashing to the ground, they wouldn’t hurt anyone and make a mess in there!  But so far, so good.  As the weather warms, I will bring them under the pergola on the deck.  Grouped together, they remind me of pictures I have seen of the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden in Hong Kong, where the locals gather to show off their prized songbirds.

So as you can see, the birds, children, ants, slugs or slaters will not be able to access my special caged strawberry stash.  I can pick them via access of the little doors and windows built into the cage.

They’re going to be all mine!  Mu hahahaha!!!



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