Aren’t we all so relieved now the weather has cooled, we have had some rain and the bush fires are all out? Long may our relief last!!
There was a period in the last couple of months when I thought there would be nothing left of my 4 year old native garden. Most of it looked so stricken in the heat and dry I thought it was the end of 'life as we know it'. But to my surprise most of my garden did survive and with the rain the bounce back has been extraordinary. It’s almost like it didn’t happen at all.
Many of you have told me that you will be looking for very hardy plants to replace plants which didn’t survive in your own gardens and have requested a list to help you along. So here is a list of the plants which survived this year in my garden. Im not saying they were not given any water but they were given very little. Neither am I saying that they all looked fabulous (though some didn’t miss a beat) but they have all perked up now that the weather is cooler and we have had some rain and most of them are now putting on decent growth again which is very exciting. Long live Aussie native plants I say!!
Grasses and Clumping plants
There are so many thoughts swirling around in my head but none of them seem to pay adequate tribute to what has been lost through drought and fire this season; to the people who have lost their loved ones or their homes and gardens, the animals which have died or been displaced by fire, the forests we have lost, the devastation to our farmers. And yet here we are in a new year. I want to say happy new year but for many of you finding the happy will be tough going.
For many, this year, the focus will be on replacing houses and gardens which have been destroyed completely, many of which have been decades in the making. For others of us the grief has been on a much smaller scale as we have watched plants in our gardens die from lack of water and/or extreme heat rather than fire. We have witnessed Kangaroos standing on the edge of empty dams contemplating where they may go next to seek out water, and seen our turtles leave home, and we have seen whole landscapes around us turning brown. Daily we see convoys of trucks bringing feed in for livestock and convoys of trucks taking water to empty tanks.
I have vacillated between feeling like lying down and giving up and fighting hard to keep my garden alive. Some days one wins out and some days the other. And I haven't even lost my whole garden to fire. How are you doing? A feeling of being under siege and a sense of despair is a very real thing in such conditions.
The thought of starting anew can be frightening and wearying too; will this just happen again next summer, can I manage the shear effort of doing all that work again. But this week I started to pull out dead plants and today I have been at my compost pile digging out last years beautiful rich compost to replenish the soil so I can be ready to plant again when the rains come. Because I am going to start again. Most of my dead stuff has been foolish stuff also. My Hebes have fried………they are New Zealand plants used to much more water and cooler climes. My flax (also a kiwi) has suffered and some has died, as has a New Zealand Leptospermum.
Other things which have suffered are plants which I knew were more suited to coastal Australia, for example Banksia which are not suited to our dry, but planted them anyway. In places where I planted without preparing the soil first, because I was in a hurry when I first came to live here, these plants have suffered also.
So as I start again I have decided to choose hardier plants rather than trying to prove a point with more marginal ones. Once the rains come lets not just forget the lessons learned this summer, we should all have a new sense of what will work should the dry happen again and perhaps what we really should put away as all too hard.
Iris and I would like to thank you for your support for us and our business. This year we
Our first markets back in the new year will be 25th January at Murrumbateman Markets and 1st February at Cool Country Natives in Pialligo. In between now and then you are welcome to make an arrangement to visit the nursery by calling iris on 6226 8132
And so in-between watering your plants to keep them alive have a very Happy Christmas and stay safe till we see you again.
Today is a scary day, a distressing day, I wonder if we will survive this summer type of day, and I am saying mayday! mayday!, we need help! I wonder if you are feeling that too or if you are a whole lot more positive that we will get rain soon. For rain is what we need now, a week of it at the very least.
My plants are dry stressed and on top of that the rabbits and cockatoos are honing in for any little bit of green they can find. On Tuesday I picked up 5 very full barrow loads of eucalypt branches that the cockatoos had stripped from my client’s tree. My Acacia has had a similar stripping by cockatoos. Other smaller plants seem to be hit by rabbits looking for something to eat.
And so whilst I shout help I’m also going to double down to protect my plants and help them, in any way I can, to survive. Three years of plant growth simply must not go to waste so out have come my plant protection aids again (see blog on 27/1/2019) My plants do not need to be chewed no matter how hungry the rabbits are and some of them are going to need extra shade for a while. My irrigation supplies box has also been well utilised in the last couple of weeks as I have increased the area covered by a simple above ground irrigation system which the hose plugs onto and away we go. What I am noticing now is that the ground is so very dry that any water I put in is hardly lasting the week but at least I can water everything at once and not have to bucket to each plant.
If you, like me, are determined to rescue your plants from certain demise in this extraordinary weather and need some tips on how to do so with simple irrigation and rabbit protection then pop down to Murrumbateman markets tomorrow or the markets at Cool Country Natives in Pialligo in two weeks time and talk to me.
Although I’m finding it difficult to stay positive today, stay positive I must and protect my plants I will. The alternative is too horrid to contemplate.
Flowering now in my garden: From top left going clockwise are Callistemon subulatus, Patersonia occidentalis, Chrysocephalum apiculatum silver leaf form, Melaleuca thymifolia white and Xerochrysum viscosum.