When I bought my house in April 2016, there was grass, grass and more grass (not even lush green grass) along with a few ornamentals. Even the soil was lifeless - not a worm in sight.
The ornamentals had to go - they had no real purpose. I like plants to have at least two uses, such as attractive, edible, attract native wildlife, scent, unusual seeds, attract beneficial insects, add nutrients to soil, NZ native - especially those that are local to the area and now rare.
Since then, I've planted fast growing natives by the fences and areas of wild flowers or smaller native area to create interest, give privacy and shelter.
These photos show how I'm working with nature to add interest and improve the environment for creature.
Hover over each photo for the story.
The back garden had a raised bed, a dead lawn, and some straggly pittosporums. Photos show how adding plants over time has added colour, life, diversity and more.
A very large house with a small garden area, embedded on a densely housed hill in CBD.
The first job was to see what was involved in refreshing the garden area. We took photos of the various areas, cleared the weeds, pruned the very old rose right back and created a large compost pile.
Hover over the photos for explanations.
This almost coastal property wants low maintenance plants that keep the weeds down. There are a surprising number of options. We chose small plants so they get established easily. Green akeake, red matipou, muhlenbeckia astonii, manuka, coprosma proquina, astelia banksii small silver spear.
Hover over the photos for captions.
We've done most of the weeding. Next step is to select plants and get them in.
This Southgate property has a large bush area where weeds had taken over and karaka had become the dominant species, considerably reducing diversity. Although karaka is a NZ native, it isn't native to Wellington and takes over from our locals. Te Motu Kairangi explains more.
We are gradually managing the herbaceous weeds. With the karaka, we are hand pulling the seedlings and chopping down larger plants then Stump Stopping the cut. This seems to be working though karaka does re-sprout from below the cut, so we have to be more persistent than karaka.
We're careful not to take out too many larger trees at once as the area is on a bank and we don't want to disturb the terrain more than necessary.
Assessing the bush area Aug 2018
Hover over the images to learn about our first visit to this bush area.
First task was to dig some rough steps for safe access and to start dealing to the weeds (tradescantia, convolvulus, galinsoga, bay tree, with old man's beard and German ivy on the fringes).
Continuing our mahi
October/November/December 2018. Hover for explanations
Already we've noticed more birds (types and numbers), seen dragonflies and more native seedlings popping up.
Now we've made space, let the light in, and it's planting time, we're hoping to plant some Wellington natives, ideally those that are getting rare in the wild. This will add to the wider ecosystem and increase diversity in this little piece of bush.
A private and flat section is a rare thing in Wellington. Over time, we're keen to help this garden show its potential.
Check out our Pinterest boards for planting and garden inspiration, plants for specific situations and much more.
There are boards on edibles, how to..., seasonal tasks, ground cover, grasses, NZ natives. It's a visual feast with links to useful information.
Here in Aotearoa the lilies are blooming gorgeous. I planted some for the first time and am delighted with the results. Deep pink flowers with huge antlers that wobble in the breeze and a delightful subtle scent.
See more on The Garden of Jury's blog which showcases some other stunners.
Digging up spider plants Chlorophytum comosum is like dealing with the Titanic's iceberg (I'm guessing ).
There may be only a little showing on top but underneath there's twice as much bulk comprising roots and tubers. This sneaky plant also produces plantlets at the tips of branches. Spider plant is clearly focussed on reproducing and takes no risks to ensure there are squillions of offspring.
A large varied garden in Island Bay Wellington with NZ natives, fruit trees, veges, ornamentals and more. See earlier photos in the Facebook gallery
What a joy to add more to this sunny garden.
See previous photos in our Facebook gallery for this garden.
The album is from October 2017, just after we started gardening here. You can see how much the plants have grown in the photos above.
What a joy to have two clients living next to each other. It was a pleasure to get stuck in to this garden and remove the weeds which were harbouring so many snails. That's when I wish I still had chickens.
Kiwis have their preferences regarding planting native plants in their gardens. Some are from the staunch eco-sourced natives only brigade, while others prefer formal gardens with exotic plantings.
Abbie's blog talks about why they refer diversity at Tikorangi Gardens. No limit of ten plant types for them - and I heartily agree. Biodiversity is where it's at!
Subtitled 'Sowing seeds of awareness' this little book helps me connect with why I love gardening and why I do it. It encourages me to stop and look deeper and purposefully at nature.
Clea Danaan is a gardener and teacher on a mission to help people fall in love with the earth. (Paraphrased from back cover).
This property has some newly established native plants. We maintain and care for the garden. There are more photos in the Facebook gallery.
A lovely wee garden in Berhampore. Roses, camellias, grevillia, callistemon. More photos in the Facebook gallery.
Another garden we maintain. When we first took it over, it had a lot of pest plants but these are now under control.
What a delight to spend a weekend enjoying others' hard mahi. Not to mention the huge choice of gardens from the three garden-focussed festivals in the 'Naki at the time: the Powerco Taranaki Garden Fest, Sustainable Backyards and Fringe Gardens. There's something for everyone, from food forests to rhodos; from small and simple to grand and complex.
Here are some photos from one of my faves this year Waiongana Gardens, by the river.
Just back from the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular and assimilating all the gardens and beauty within. Looking through my photos, there are so many beautiful bearded irises I've shared some here with some from last year to show the colour variety. From subtle to bold and brilliant.
Remember irises like at least half a day full sun and leave the rhizomes exposed.