How I made my garden a touch less feral

20:35, Dec 16 2012

The chooks have gone, and the run has gone back to being a feral part of the garden that I try not to notice. It used to be full of agapanthus, and when that was removed, other horrors like dock and convolvulus have moved in. Not even six months of having chooks roaming around digging it up and pecking it to bits could slow it down. I think that their presence actually made the dock worse - chooks don't eat it and my girls weren't strong enough to dig up its roots. What's more, they stirred up the seed bank where dock seeds can live for 50 years, so there are dock plants everywhere.

In seemingly unrelated news, I have a kowhai tree I got for my birthday last December that has spent a year being very unhappy in a pot. The reason it has not been planted out is that because of space and slope and sun, there really isn't anywhere to put it that won't block out our light, take up precious flat space, or die in a shady spot. It's dying in the pot from my indecision.

But now that the chickens have gone, I had an a-ha moment. I should put the kowhai in the old chook run. So here goes.

First of all, I cut back the ivy and weeded out other undesirables along the fence line. 


Then I dug a hole twice the size of the pot the kowhai was in. The ground is incredibly dry, and it being clay soil, digging the hole was like getting into concrete. Into the hole went scoria, compost and sheep poo, then I put in the kowhai, backfilled with soil, and watered it in by letting the hose drip on it for about 20 minutes. Then I mulched it. 

I continued weeding along the fence line and tidied up. Looks much better now. The shrub on the left is a pittosporum mountain green, which we are planting to create a hedge that will protect us from southerlies, and give us a bit more privacy from the neighbours. 

I feel much better now that this corner isn't so hideous. The next step is to even out the soil so it's a bit more level, lay down lots of newspaper and mulch, and after a few months, it will be ready to sow grass. Yay for sunny afternoons of gardening! I'm even inspired to put some of the raspberry suckers which are multiplying by the day against the wooden fence and have a second raspberry patch.

And I can't wait till the kowhai flowers next year, and we have even more tui in our neighbourhood.

What did you get up to at the weekend? Any big projects on your plate right now? 

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