Saturday, 9 June 2018

Gardening 101

Saturday was the day, I managed to clear away the kikuyu infested garden at church, and so now there's a mountain of foliage taller than me sitting at St Giles waiting for the mulcher. A kowhai was revealed hidden under the growth of rampant coprosmas, which were planted too close by, and there was one privet that had grown up under next door's olives. A camellia is next to the kowhai looking a bit yellow, it probably needs some acid fertiliser.

I contacted AT and they took away the iron railing fence that was sitting face down on the grass, smothered in kikuyu. AT have even completed the brick work surrounding the bus stop pohutakawa, the spare pallets have been taken away, actually, it's all looking pretty presentable if I say so myself. The only thing left to do is get the tree guys on to the rotting cherry, and plant a few specimen plants like protea and bird of paradise, coloured flaxes, a few hydrangeas in the shady corner and my twelve native trees. And perhaps a star jasmine covering the ugly railing, but that may have to be a guerilla planting...i.e. plant when nobody's looking. Also a compost bin for clippings and dead flowers is a must.

 Graeme has promised to show me the original planting plan for this church that was landscaped by the former city council, of which, only a few plants have survived. The church members really had no say in what was planted and no wonder everything died, it was probably all the wrong plants in the wrong situations.

I am thinking about going on to do more training in level 4 Amenity Horticulture with my company after all, I don't know everything. Sometimes it surprises me how much I have learned, because gardening is a skill that's taught by doing, yet with something so basic as growing a plant, I find myself sometimes surprised at how ignorant people can be.

I've had people remark wow plants do so much better after rain. What people don't seem to understand is that plants need water to survive. You can't just buy a plant from a garden centre, plonk it down, and expect it to keep growing without ever watering it if its not outside. Unless it's a cacti or a really tough succulent. Or it's plastic. All my plants die, why? I've heard some people remark. Um do you water them? No? Well there's your problem.

Pruning is also a skill that's learned, because I've seen some really BAD pruning jobs, or rather plants that have been butchered. A tree wants to grow upright, so why do people think they need to keep it short and chop the tops off? It will just sprout more from the base and look even worse.

Some people think they need to fertilise plants every single week. Well that would be like giving plants steroids and not giving them a chance to actually find nutrients naturally and adapt to the soil. Some plants don't want to be flowering all the time, those that flower more die more. Its like humans, if a mother keeps having baby after baby, she's going to exhaust herself pretty soon.

I think gardening or horticulture needs to be taught in schools as a subject, even from primary school. Because parents aren't teaching it to their children. If children can't understand what a living thing like a good plant needs nurturing and cultivation they may just follow their parents neglectful example and run wild like every noxious weed that is only fit to be pulled out and burned.