Thursday, 16 November 2017

Design flaws and other garden bloopers

It's design project day today, have taken the day off work to get it done. What have I learned so far...well people say you learn from your mistakes but I'm aiming for perfection so I'm just going to learn from other people's mistakes. My garden design is just going to have to be perfectomondo since nobody is paying me to do it, actually, I'm the one paying the Auckland Permaculture Workshop to do it. I expect the bill to come in  any day now.

When I thought about this in the back of my mind wondered if it was really a gyp and will they even recruit me into their design studios when they see how awful my drawing is but hey at least I know my plants. is a quick tour of the garden designer's walk of shame.

Using jasmine as ground cover. When it grows in spring, you will have to clip it every week, and if you don't it will grow into a tangled mess. Use jasmine up a wall or give it something to climb.

Eugenia or lily pilly. Every lilly pilly I've seen gets eaten by psyillid and you will have to spray and spray. Better to rip it out. If you want a lollipop topiary why not shape some chicken wire into balls and grow ivy over them. 

A gardenia hedge. As well as masses of plants being prone to thrips. Was asked to clip back a gardenia hedge just as it was beginning to flower cos it was getting too big. We refused. Do you want a bunch of twigs as a hedge or do you want to brush past beautiful smelling gardenias? Plant gardenias as they are meant to be planted (with other plants) and leave them be. 

Massed dietes, massed flax,  massed bird of paradise, massed anything. Just no. One plant looks splendid in a pot, two make a pair, three a trio, but an undivided clump that squashes every available

Cabbage trees in a lawn, yuccas near a path. Flower carpet roses underfoot. Unless you like your lawnmower in a tangle and your feet pricked and skin stung. 

Gardens with no seating areas. How are you supposed to sit and contemplate life if there's nowhere to sit?

A thin, winding uphill grass path that needs to be mown, but you can't get a lawnmower up. Or lawns on a steep slope when it would be perfect for a pumpkin patch.

No nearby drinking fountain. Gardeners get thirsty too you know. It's not really a good look to drink direct from the hose.

A totally shadeless garden. We have a hole in the ozone layer in New Zealand people. Do you want to fry? Plant some trees or create an arbour/pergola.  If I want to see the endless horizon I would go live near the beach.

Conversely, vege gardens in the shade. Veges need at least 6 hours sun for production. Don't plant veges under trees or near thirsty tree roots.

Trees near the house. Their roots will seek out your plumbing and block your drains trying to find water. Unless you build a tree house and live in the tree. Why fight it when it wants you to live in it!

Carpark beds with plants that can't stand foot traffic and car doors.

Bark mulch that is on a slope that will blow over on to the path. Overusing bark mulch as a way to get out of weeding, but ends up as a way to get out of gardening altogether. An empty bed with just bark in it, does not really look like a garden. Pak n' Save I'm referrring to you.

Planting dry loving plants in a wet area, and water loving plants in the dry, and then wondering why all your plants are dead.

A field. A field is not a garden. If you going to have a field put some sheep in it to graze it and manure the soil.

Astroturf. Weeds can still grow on astroturf and they can be harder to pull out.

Trying to do everything at once. Gardens are not all planted in one day. Put some workers to work, and don't forget your animal workers - bees, butterflies, birds, worms, hedgehogs, chickens cats. Well maybe not cats but if cats are not visiting your garden something's wrong. Look at it from their point of it comfortable? Are there interesting areas to sunbathe in and play and hide? Is it safe? Could you walk round naked in it if one day you forgot to put on some clothes?

Ok maybe not the last one but the first garden on earth had all the animals in it as well and the humans were walking round naked and not ashamed, before clothes were invented.

Forbidden trees. We are banned from planting phoenix palms. It's a weed. Please don't plant them and think they look cute and tropical or 'architectural'.  They have lethal barbs and all the pigeons will come and roost in it and poop all over your garden and your neighbours will hate you.

Well that's it for now I must get cracking with my colouring pencils and felts.