We have re-activated our little cottage nursery that supplied Council restoration projects and home gardens from about 2004-2006. Hundreds of native seeds fall and grow, even in our own little garden and gravel driveway, so we have been potting them up in recycled pots with roughly-composted wood chip mulch so our garden restoration clients can have free plants for planting season (or earlier if they have a loose soil and are prepared to water them…but Autumn is much easier!)
We are now offering 10-20 plants (depending on size), in a limited range of species – this year we concentrated on kawakawa, karamu, nikau and Carex – free with every 10 hours of gardening or habitat restoration, while stocks last.
Following the development of the kawakawa fruit observed in earlier posts, I noticed a few ripe fruit on the tree outside this dining room window.
In summer kereru clamber in the taller branches of the tree, alone, in pairs, and one year with a chick, all within a metre of this window.
Fortunately for the kereru, who are far too trusting for their own good, a dog keeps the garden cat-free, and the dog can’t reach this part of the garden.
Above: a fully ripe kawakawa fruit, found half-eaten on the ground, discloses the many seeds within the orange flesh of a single fruit
The wood of the kawakawa is soft, easily pruned to keep this paved path clear.
Wild native sedges and grasses and moss are allowed to cover the earth under the tree, and the smaller plants are allowed to spread to fill the gaps between paving tiles, keeping out most of the dandelions, creeping buttercup and other weeds.
The native kawakawa looper makes holes in the kawakawa leaves.
These holes are said to correspond to the leaves with the strongest medicinal value, perhaps because of substances produced in those leaves in response to the caterpillars eating the leaves.
Another explanation is that the caterpillars know which leaves are the best to eat.
Either way, this 2 square metres of clay is cool and refreshing to look out on through hot summers, hosts a lot of wildlife, lets morning light play on the windows all year round, and, with fallen leaves and twigs mulching the ground naturally, requires almost no attention to stay beautiful and weed-free.
One evening last week, putting out the compost turned into an after-dinner garden wander – a weed to pull out here, a “volunteer” tomato seedling to pop in there – and I realized this is how it will be for the rest of the summer, just like every other year; the cool stillness of evening and gentle sounds of roosting birds keeps me outside till dusk.
For this shade-loving gardener, it has already become too hot for work in the afternoons except under or among big trees.
It occurred to me that there may be people who would like an evening garden ecology assessment, learning session or even their weeding done, when they are home and can collaborate or advise.
For morning or evening garden restoration services, or forest restoration anytime, contact us.