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Monday, 9 October 2017

The Creek

Things are blooming and booming and the garden centres are at their busiest gearing up for Labour Weekend. I could not resist having a look see after work, planning to buy some bog salvias but instead came away with a scabiosa (it's a flower). Am still dreaming about my north border and whether to double dig, or lasagna garden it. According to Beth Chatto, author of 'The Damp Garden' the best thing for clay is to add grit to it. Or soil on top. It's just a waste of time to dig clay. There's also gypsum granules. At any rate, it does call for something if only I had the favourable weather to work in.

One thing that I find missing from garden books is any mention of creeks. There's coastal planting, and bog gardening, but curiously no mention of what would be best to plant round an estuary creek. Perhaps a mixture of both? I was looking in the library and the only book I could find was a biography of writer Maurice Gee. I found out, among other things, that he was a teacher and a librarian before he gave it up to write novels full time and his stories always seemed to end up with someone drowning in the Henderson Creek. We had an oil portrait of him at the Henderson Library since he won so many book awards but it turns out he left Henderson for greener pastures in Nelson. Not much help then?

Have been thinking of creeks lately as Riverpark is surrounded by Huruhuru Creek, which is further downstream from Henderson and Oratia stream. Woodside Road backs on to one arm, Riverpark Crescent straddles the other and then the creek empties out to the Waitemata Harbour. On Saturday we tested the water - it was fine and no shopping trolleys were dumped that we could see. What this means for our soil is that we get the run off from the rain and stormwater into our creeks but conversely we also get the salt from the tide. The one plant that does well to filter all this salt and fresh is the amazing mangrove which lives in this rich alluvial mixture of mud. It's not land and it's not sea. It's mud.

I have a booklet called 'Native to the West' A guide to planting and restoring the nature of Waitakere City. This was published 1997 and updated in 2005. Waitakere City is actually no more, having been subsumed into the Greater Auckland Monopoly Board, but I think there's still a lot of green space in the middle of that board that doesn't have hotels, casinos, parking lots and motorways running round it and that's where I'm putting the free park and playground. I have identified that we live in the Waitemata Lowland Forest region and there are plants that are recommended for this ecosystem. The main task is for native plants to claim back the land from the tyranny of dog turds, mud and mown lawn weeds. And phoenix palms. After we have eradicated these interlopers and sent them back to where they came from...the natives can then have their own party swing seat. Or something. I don't know. Maybe Winston Peters can help us out here?