Monday, August 8, 2011

Homegrown - A native garden

If you've followed this Homegrown series from the beginning, you'll know I've spent a lot of time tackling the ivy and weeds growing out of our brick retaining wall.

So much time that when my husband, Paul, told me last week the landlord has asked I don't pull any more ivy off the stairwell, I almost burst into tears. I had just spent two hours pulling ivy off the stair railing when Paul told me.

In Paul's defense, the landlord made his request just hours after I had given birth to S, so Paul was a bit distracted at the time. He only remembered when I proudly told him about my efforts with the ivy over Skype.

(After a small pity party) I'm now resigned to the fact the ivy is here to stay.

But I haven't given up completely. While my mother-in-law was here last week, we got stuck in clearing the bit of garden next to the stairs. What used to be riddled with oxalis, ivy, onion weeds and grass, is now cleared and planted out with a selection of glossy green natives.

I'm happy because at least I have something pretty to look at when I enter the property. And natives are always good to have around. Birds and bees like them, and my vegetable gardens like birds and bees so it's win/win.

Because everybody loves a good before and after shot, here's what the garden wall looked like before:
BEFORE: 26 June 2011. 
And here's what it looks like now:
AFTER: 6 August 2011
Here's a close-up of those lovely natives. I've planted a selection of flaxes, rata, Chatham Island forget-me-nots and something else I've completely forgotten the name of. I was going for vibrant greens with pops of colour (blue and red).

And just in case the previous photos haven't given you an appreciation for how high this garden is, and how narrow the little strip of land was I had to work in, this photo might help put it in perspective (and you can say hello to my cat at the same time):

I combatted vertigo by refusing to look down. Now that I'm safely on the other side of the stair railing, I can show you my raised garden and composting system from a different angle than usual:

So there you have it. A little bit more of our garden oasis is looking oasissy. 

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