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Thursday, 1 March 2018

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The op shop beckoned with more gardening books, I found one called 'The City Gardener' by this bloke by the name of Matt James. The city garden in question seems to be one of those grimy industrial ones in England with plots the size of a handkerchief, flat as pancakes and surrounded by bricks.

What can I do with my 300 square metre plot that gets no sun, (because England is always cloudy and miserable), acid rain, and lashings of beer and vomit each weekend? Well Matt James works his miracle plant powers and suggests to get thee to a plant nursery and buy a new garden, whilst coercing your mates to dig up the plot and start planting right away. Anything is better than staring at four corners of a weed infested and bottle strewn backyard.

One chapter of his book is called 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'. These are not weed species but popular  plants that you can buy in the garden centre. It seems Matt has firm opinions on certain plants. Well so have I.  So here's my list.

The Good
Olive tree
 The Olive tree will last hundreds, if not a thousand years, fruits, with evergreen leaves. No need to prune and the more it ages the better it looks. Provides shade and shelter, but without being too thick or obstructive. The wood can also be used and has a beautiful grain. You can harvest oil from the fruits, if you plant hundreds of them. Also they can make a good hedge.

Kowhai
NZ's national icon brings in tuis and gorgeous yellow pendulous flowers in the spring. An ideal street tree with lacy graceful leaves.

Lamb's ears
Fluffy leaves that are soft to touch, makes an excellent easy groundcover. The flower spikes last for floral displays.

The Bad
Choisya Ternata aka Mexican Orange Blossom
It can look ok in the right place but the leaves smells like cat pee. In the wrong place shrivels up and dies. Called a filler plant because it fills the gap.

Dietes aka African Iris
Agapanthus supposedly classier sister plant which is also tough and self seeds readily, but clumps of it are now taking over Auckland. I am waiting for someone to have the bright idea of making dietes baskets out of their leaves like flax as we have way too much of it and everywhere is starting to look like Pak N Save carpark.

Conifers
Big blocky plants that would have looked alright in an Italian countryside garden, but ridiculous in suburban Auckland. Also seems to kill/deprive all other plants around it. I've seen these plants wrapped with wires because they get too fat, or chopped in half, and I remember we had two planted outside our doorway once that ended up blocking the entrance to our stately brick shotgun home.

Eugenia aka Lilly Pilly
Gets an awful bug called psyllid that makes the leaves all bumpy, which means you will constantly have to trim and spray it. Unless you rip out every infested plant, you are stuck with it.

The Ugly

Yucca.
Yucky pointy plants, need I say more.

Roses
When they are not in flower, they are just prickly ugly plants. And if they have no scent, what's the point? Also gets black spot, scale, and aphids. Plus the canes are always dying back after flowering and you will be forever spraying and pruning, till you or the plant dies, whichever is first.

Agaves
This turns into a monster that looks like a mean octopus with spikes on the ends of it's tentacles. Please don't plant this anywhere.

On that note, I'm turning in for the night and not thinking about gardening. I wish people would only plant good plants, not evil ones. It just makes more work for me pulling them all out. Nobody else is going to do it. I want to concentrate on nurturing good plants.  Remember you may plant and I may water, but God gives the growth.