Saturday, August 17, 2013

Nature strip update

It has been a whole entire year since I last posted anything about my nature strip project! Click here for a picture of what it looked like last time, and for a complete history try here. To refresh your memory (and mine), this council-owned strip of land is hot, windy, very dry, and the 'soil' is compacted clay and dolomite with a roughly neutral pH (despite the dolomite). Before I got my gardener's hands on it, it was a strip of bare gravel with two trees poking out it it (foreground larger tree is Eucalyptus leucoxylon ssp megalocarpa, the large fruited SA blue gum, and the smaller tree further back is probably a weedy malnourished version of the same).
Well, look at this spot now! Starting to come along well and filling out nicely.

When I started I just planted 'native plants,' but after the first round of planting (about three years ago) I've only planted indigenous species in here, and ones I hoped would be suitable (obviously... but I know more now and can choose better!) In this picture there are Poa labilliaderi (most of the grasses), Ficinia nodosa (knobby club rush, bottom right), Acacia myrtifolia (dead centre, still small), Enchalaena tomentosa (left by pole), and Goodenia amplexans (clasping goodenia, at left).

This photo is looking at the same patch from the other direction. At the front-left is a non-indigenous grevillea (name escapes me), at front right is a Myporum parvifolium. Barely visible because it blends in so well, behind the grevillea, is the saltbush Atriplex semibaccata, and behind that is all those mentioned before with a better view of the goodenia (now on the right).

This picture shows the other end of the nature strip. It's a bit more bare because that's where we need to put our waste bins on rubbish days. At the far left is the original Juncus ursitatus (not indigenous), behind that is an indigenous Juncus (sarophus?! C'mon, brain, work!), doing surprisingly well despite the harsh conditions. Also in this picture, but much less obvious, is more Myoporum, Enchaleana, and Ficinia, a couple of eremophilas (cultivars and not indigenous species), a bit of dianella which has been struggling along since the beginning, and a little Calytrix tetragona. And some weeds. Oh yes! I improved the soil and the weeds have certainly taken advantage. Most of them are little thistles and dandelions and easily dealt with. A couple of months ago I also removed the biggest weeds in here: several large clumps of gazanias. 'Oh,' said a neighbour, 'but they grow so well!' Yes, indeed! That's one reason they're a weed!

The one major difference I have found between planting native plants in the nature strip, as opposed to in my front garden (behind the fence) is that the plants are growing far more slowly. This would be from a combination of the difficult growing conditions, and receiving far less water over summer. I only toss a few buckets of water about there when it gets really hot.

 And last but not least, a winter-happy for you :) The indigenous Clematis microphylla growing on my front fence and flowering it's head off. Very pretty!

Stay warm xx

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