It’s time to get planning, planting and perfecting.
Winter has almost been vanquished! What better way to enjoy these longer days than by getting out in the backyard and welcoming new life into the world? Here are a few garden tips to help you make the most of the fresh air out there.
With warmer weather and more sunlight now is the time to plan and plant in the backyard. There’s plenty of good company in the garden too. Your feathered friends will be busy nest building, breeding and feeding their young chicks. As New Zealand recognises the importance of planting for our environment (and our collective future) more Kiwis are growing natives too – ensuring these friends have plenty of space to live and thrive in across the years ahead.
For the trees…
Plan. Not sure what to plant – and if it will survive? Have a look around your local area and see what is growing in any nearby native bush. If they’re cool with it, check with your neighbours with what’s going well in their garden. Remember too that, like all things, trees don’t stay babies forever. That cute seedling may tower over you in the years to come. So remember to think about what your space might look like in ten years time.
Plant. Remember not to plant on days that are too sunny or too windy – it’s easy even in early spring for moisture to dry out and seedlings to become thirsty. Be sure to compost well and dig enough room for the roots to spread out once your plant is out of the bag. Also, when planting native shrubs and trees it always helps to simulate the type of conditions they’d grow in out in the wild. So be sure to use old carpet and/or wet newspaper, bark or straw to help mimic the rotting leaves and forest debris in these environments.
For the birds…
Plan. Post-winter food may be scarce and, with all the hard work in the trees nesting and raising chicks, the local birdlife may need an energy boost and some nutritious feed to get by. Make sure you’ve got a great feeder or two and be sure to keep it well stocked. Energy food will provide some essential fats to boost birds especially if your backyard suffers from the occasional spring frost.
Plant. There are plenty of fantastic New Zealand natives that our birds love. Tūi enjoy the flowers of harakeke (NZ flax) and the kōtukutuku (tree fuchsia) attracts tūi, bellbird and silvereye. Then there’s the beautiful kōwhai tree, which is loved by tūi and bellbird for its sweet nectar. There is also the hardy coprosma and makomako (wineberry) shrub, which both attract a range of native birds.
For the bees…
Plan. While there’s a good chance he didn’t say it, the quote attributed to Albert Einstein still rings true: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.” We need to plan for a future that protects nature’s essential workers! You could start by providing them with some handy shelter. We’ve recently debuted our Naturals bamboo range, and the Bug and Bee Hut has already proven popular.
Plant. First, if your lawn is growing clover please don’t spray it. Clover is awesome! Why would you want to get rid of it? The hebe provides a perfect haven if planted in a warm and sheltered space, as do flax, hoheria and olearia. Manuka and rata are also appreciated by pollinators.
…and for you and me
Plan …to enjoy the many years of enjoyment a beautiful natural environment can bring not just to you but to all the local wildlife, big and small, who call it their home.
Plant …yourself down with a good book and, perhaps, a nice drink at the end of the day. After all the hard work planting and preparing food for the birds you’ve earned it!