If clients don't mind, we leave weeds onsite to let them to rot down as compost, smother existing weeds, and to save labour and costs in removing them. Anything we can do to improve the soil’s structure and microbe population is a win.
Here’s how you can reuse organic matter (anything that once grew) and save yourself effort and money.
Learn to identify the pest, or invasive plants, (ideally when they are small) versus the less nasty weeds that will curl up and die without a fight.
It’s fine to leave the less nasty weeds on top of garden beds or around plants to rot down to improve the soil, which helps hold water and nutrients on your land.
A different approach is needed for the baddies, those that reproduce like crazy using a variety of cunning tricks. For these, you can:
To identify pest plants see Weedbusters.
Pests in Wellington region and more general info see, Greater Wellington Regional Council Pest Plants.
Exploring the site
Behind the cottage is a large section going uphill to a flat space with a brazier. These photos are from my first visit. Hover over the pic to read caption.
Start clearing and discovering
We gathered our tools on site to start clearing and discovering what was coming through under the weeds.
We piled the waste on site to make compost and improve the soil over time. There were so many pest plants that it wouldn't have made enough difference to take the considerable time to remove it all. Worst comes to the worst, we can weedspray the piles later.
Then we got planting.
Wharangi on the edges. Poa cita grass to hold the bank and for its feathery flower heads. Coprosma kirkii to cover the awkward corner and keep weeds down. Small muehlenbeckia complexa to reduce disturbance to the bank and to cover it. Perennials for colour and to enjoy. Dwarf toe toe to add continuity with existing ones.
On my walk up my street this afternoon, every other verge had agapanthus, Agapanthus praecox, growing healthily. Definitely the predominant species round these parts.
Why it's a pest plant
It seeds prolifically, spreads seeds effectively which germinate densely. Fragments of the roots easily regrow. Plants live a long time and can handle a wide range of conditions and soil types.
Wherever it grows, it forms solid clumps. I've seen layers and layers grow on top of each other. It bullies all other plants out and takes over.
For information on getting rid of agapanthus see Weedbusters,
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.
A private and flat section is a rare thing in Wellington. Over time, we're keen to help this Kingston garden show its potential.
Hover over the photos for captions.
Recent photos show progress
The clients' young daughter enjoys exploring the flowers and food from the garden.
Hover over photos for descriptions. Click them to enlarge.
The garden at the beginning. In discussion with the owners the plans evolved over time.