Home' Outdoors : WAs Best Outdoors and Gardens 2009 Contents 214 WA's Best Outdoors & Gardens 2010
BRING BACK THE LIFE
Some gardens are very showy and full of colour but almost devoid of life
because the plants have no appeal to our native fauna.
We have a wonderfully diverse range of native plants, nearly all of which
are very attractive to, and closely linked with, our native birds and animals.
Of course at times the birds outstay their welcome, like when the 28
parrots eat the roses and silvereyes eat the grapes, but that really is a small
price to pay for such wonderful and mostly beneficial company.
Wildlife experts frown on the artificial feeding of birds, but there's no need
to anyway. All you have to do is to plant some bird-attracting plants and they
will fly in.
Plant enough variety and some shelter shrubs or trees and they will
probably take up permanent residence.
A birdbath will help them through summer but they can find their own
food year round and most of it will be insects, which you will hardly miss.
e free floor shows on daily at the birdbath are a huge bonus.
GET FAMILIAR WITH YOUR CONTROLLER!
Not your controller at work but the one at home that works for you and is in
control of when and how much water your garden gets.
A lot of people credit their controller with some intelligence but really it's
as dumb as a blowfish and about as useful too if you don't know what to do
with it. Controllers are really just clocks with memories that are able to run
taps on and off according to a programme, ie when you tell them to.
e average domestic controller has no feedback mechanism to tell it
whether watering is actually needed.
When the allotted time is reached it turns on the water whether the
garden needs it or not.
Generally, gardens in Perth need watering only once a week in autumn
and in late spring, twice a week in summer and of course, not at all during
winter and early spring. We waste a lot of water because we don't take
control of the controller.
A waterwise gardener will know how to change the programme and make
the savings. If you don't know how, call in a waterwise irrigator who can do
the job for you.
Find your nearest one on the Water Corporation website.
DON'T PUT A PLANT IN A CENT HOLE
All plants look magnificent when you buy them.
e real challenge is to keep them looking that way and the sure-fire
method that works every time is to improve the soil before you plant.
Don't waste you time and money digging deep holes and filling the bottom
with fertiliser and organic matter.
What really makes the difference is to dig a wide hole. At a minimum it
should be three times the width of the pot, but the wider the better.
Dig to only a spade depth, remove half the soil and replace it with organic
matter sold as soil improver or soil conditioner.
Mix this thoroughly with the remaining soil, replace in the hole and place
you plant in the middle.
Once established in improved soil, a plant will be healthier and need less
water and fertiliser than one that was simply plonked straight in.
Improving the soil with organic matter prior to planting benefits all plants,
Of course, if you can, avoid planting in the heat of summer. Autumn,
IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT YOUR
MULCH, TAKE YOUR SHOES AND SOCKS
OFF AND WALK ON IT. IF IT HURTS YOUR
FEET IT'S A GOOD MULCH.
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