Monday, October 10, 2011

Native grasses

I've been digging holes in the nature strip again, scraping away a thick layer of dolomite and removing it, bucket by bucket, and filling the voids with compost and a fertilizer-free coir peat. Underneath the dolomite is clay. I started my nature strip intervention back in January this year because I was sick of looking at gravel and weedy gazanias. This is what it looked like along our fence when I was partway through replacing the dolomite fill in front of it.

The first thing I did was plant native grasses (Poa poiformis, Blue Tussock Grass) at each fence pillar, and thyme seedlings in between, so that it looked like this:

Then, in March, I started planting native plants into the nature strip by the road. And now, as I get digging again, and thinking more clearly about what I want to do out there, I'm inspired by the P. poiformis grasses by the pillars which are in full tall and swaying bloom at the moment. The thyme plants are getting bigger but are nowhere near filling out the space between the grasses yet. The little natives across the paths aren't doing much just yet, but they've only been in for six months and it's a difficult position. Oh, except for the Juncus ursitatus (Common Rush), bottom right, which is standing straight and proud and filling out at the bottom like a man who's eaten too many donuts. The gazanias will have to go. My neighbour told me they were nice the other day, so she might be a wee bit disappointed when I pull them up, but I did tell her, politely, that they were a 'bit weedy.' For the time being they are only remaining because they stop any other weeds from growing there. Mind you, the only stuff that seems to grow in that dolomite is self-seeded gazanias...

I did go a little bit gung-ho on the nature strip takeover to begin with, and now that I sit back and look at it I'm getting a few more ideas and a little bit more of a clearer picture of what I'd like. From now on, I'm putting in mostly indigenous plants out there (as opposed to just 'native') and I think I'd like lots of grasses in there, and rushes: Baumea, Baloskion, Juncus, Danthonia and Austrostipa. All waving in the breeze at passing cars and a bit ephemeral. And I'd like to plant all those little forgotten understory heathy and shrubby things I love. I already have a few from work, waiting for me to get them into the ground: Astroloma, Scaevola, groundcovering Correa and Myoporum. As much as I am looking forward to our holiday, I almost wish it wasn't in Spring because I want to be out there and digging.


Liz - Suburban Tomato said...

Nice grasses and even nicer fence!! I'm definitely envious of that beautiful wrought iron. Funnily enough I was just thinking today about planting up our nature strip - the council has put myoporum in but frankly it weed infested and fairly ugly. My bracyscomes are doing well so I'm considering them but I like your grasses concept as for thought. Have a lovely time - I found Bali beautiful particularly away from the coast.

hearts_in_asia said...

To be honesty, I think Myoporum is quite boring, but tough as old boots and the old nature strip is not the best environment for plants (yet!) so I think it will be a good filler :)