Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Nature Strip Garden

I know I promised to make a nature strip garden ages ago remember? Well, I finally made a start on the weekend. I decided that all the ornamental grasses in front of the trampoline that I planted a couple of  years ago to block the ugly view were not such a good idea now.  Not sure what these grasses are actually called but the monkeys call them "tickle grass". Some of them grow feathery bits, others I think are native iris.  Anyway, the chickens sit about under the trampoline now (unless a monkey is jumping - then they do a chicken run back to their shed). And I love to watch the chickens and I think they like watching me back. So I want to improve their view and that spot is a perfect veggie garden spot (actually any bit of free land is becoming perfect veggie patch in my backyard lately.) So I dug the grasses all out and replanted them in the nature strip. And I dug a couple more out from under the lemon tree. What was I thinking crowding so much stuff in that garden?

Now I've mentioned before that I'm a lazy gardener and I was true to my word on Sunday morning as I was attempting to dig holes for these plants. The nature strip is rock hard. What's more there were lots of rocks (well biggish stones) and roots and it was hot and... I know, I know - I'm a lazy whiner! All you proper gardeners out there would be appalled at the job I did. I dug little holes that surely won't be good for expanding roots. I dragged the plants to the front with not too much care 'cos I was getting hot and bothered and just wanted to finish. And I did not even dig up the grass that is sure to encroach on the bushes and cause problems soon. I did a miserable job but at least I did it. 

And what about those herbs I promised I hear you ask? Well I only managed to successfully propogate Vietnamese mint (see what a great gardener I am!). Some of you would consider mint a weed and advise that it is rather foolish to plant it in a garden 'cos it will take over. Well I'm not one to take advice when I have my mind set on something. So in went the mint. Yesterday morning I persuaded Monkey Man to take me to Bunnings. Secretly I prefer to visit these sorts of places on my own but Monkey Men can be handy when it comes to hauling bags of Mushroom Compost into the boot. And while I was there I happened to pass by the nursery section. Although I'd said that I wouldn't spend any money on the nature strip garden I convinced myself that it was absolutely shameful to have a bit of the nature strip dedicated to herbs and only house Vietnamese mint. So I purchased some sage and rosemary and popped that in too.

My friend Ms. C. lives in a rented place with a concrete and stone courtyard and she claims to have been dying to get her hands dirty in a garden. So I took up her offer to help pull up some of my weeds yesterday arvo. We only did that for a little while though (I'm lazy as I've said and I think Ms. C. was only too happy to get into some fun gardening not the boring stuff). Instead of doing the hard work that needed doing (ie remove the rotten cooch grass behind the water tank that's grown so tall it's reached the top of the side fence - see how lazy I am) we went out the front to the nature strip with the monkeys. We had a lovely time planting herbs and seasoling and watering and digging in a little mushroom compost. Yep, I know I spent more money by using the mushroom compost that was intended for the veggies.  But I really felt that it was unfair for all those transplanted plants to be so unceremoniously uprooted from a nice fertile soil into that hard rock nature strip that hasn't been dug up for decades. I wonder how many decades it's been? It deserved a teeny bit of love.

Anyway, I'm blushing to show you an honest photo of this nature strip. I attempted to  deceive you with a couple of close ups and shots of the leaves.  But you can see the grassy mess. I must dig it up and lay out some mulch and encourage Monkey Man to repair the garden sculpture (a whole other story there but if you look closely you'll see a splash of orange). But those are bigger jobs that'll require a cool day and a month of iron supplements in the lead up and maybe the consumption of a strong gurana and caffeine infused energy drink beforehand.
I think that's the native iris
Look there's a herb! Sage
All right here's a bit of it. Those sticks and attractive black stockings to the left are supporting a tree in case you were wondering. And the orange sticky bit is the sculpture which I'll blog about another time.


  1. I think the "lazy gardeners" are the ones with the fun blogs and that have a fun time in the garden. Our gardens (yes I am one of the lazy ones) may not have the tools put away or have flat surfaces, or perfect edging but we all have so much fun pottering in the dirt. Yeah for lazy gardeners. Like the new garden

  2. Looks great VG! The plants you have chosen, the Dietes grandiflora (Butterfly Iris), Phormium tenax cv. (NZ Flax) and the herbs are all very tough plants that should tolerate the harsh conditions and shallow soil!
    What is the fine leafed grass at the front? It almost looks like a red hot poker?

  3. I loved your story.... you have such an honest way of putting things. I dont think you are the only one to have had a great idea and then while implementing it find that one major fact has not been thought out - like rock hard undernourished soil! Those look like pretty hardy plants, and I have been amazed that roots can often force their way in where no spade has ever been before...

  4. In my eyes VG you can do no wrong! I think it looks great...but it will be a curse keeping that grass out of the grasses. But then you will have more material for post to make us all laugh!

  5. huff and puff, handling all things in one go the home, garden and role of a mommy and wifey!!!!
    it's so wonderful taking out time to be a passionate gardener and an amazing blogger, hey I wont call u a lazy gardener, I would rather call u a dedicated gardener short of time.

  6. Aaah thanks everyone. Clearly I am just a dedicated gardener short on time. And yeah I do enjoy it. Phoebe thanks for naming the plants. I never remember plant names and so can't tell you what the one in the front is. Sorry. But I do know it's not a red hot poker.

  7. Love it too! My style of gardening :) Those lillies are so hardy. I moved some from my back, to the front and finally to my neighbour's nature strip and they are still going strong!

  8. Oh bring on the laziness and selective photos, the amount of times I have scraped the surface of the dirt and thrown a plant at the ground is more times than I can rightly recall. I just think it's hilarious that you want to improve the chickens view. That gave me a right laugh!

  9. Most of those plants are pretty resilient types. I bet they will make the best of whatever is there. Somethings also seem to thrive on neglect (not that I'm suggesting you will neglect them!).

  10. love the "orange sticky" thingy!

  11. A terrific Start !! Mine is is dark shade so none for me...yours is looking great so far!!


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