Saturday, 13 February 2016

Transforming my verge - Part 2

It has been one and a half years since I began transforming my verge by planting natives.

I am sad to report that it hasn't been as successful as I had hoped.

Most of the tube stock didn't survive the first summer - the only ones that did were these Eremophilas:

AL_Verge_DSC03079
Newly planted tube stock.
Eremophila
One and a half years of growth (despite little care).

I did restock from the Friends of Kings Park native plant sale and City of Vincent's Local Native Plant Sale.

Sadly, most of those also didn't survive too well either but here is a photo of my verge currently:

Native verge Feb 2016

I'm not 100% certain but I think the following are the factors that contributed to plant deaths:

  1. Neglect from me - not watering regularly through summer.
  2. Dog pee - at least 3 plants killed.
  3. Being covered - I had another mountain of mulch delivered and they dumped all over 3 plants.
  4. Child using plant as trampoline - 1 victim.

I am working on Point 1 this summer but short of (temporarily) fencing off my verge, I am not sure what I can do about the other causes of fatalities.

Still, I am having fun - seeing some of them flourish and flower.  Come April, I will get more tubestock from the City of Vincent Local Native Plant sale to replace the dead plants.

3 comments:

  1. Good on you Alfred for sharing your anti-success. Not everyone's attempts work out first time. But at least you are trying and not giving up. Take your learnings from Attempt 1 and apply them to Attempt 2. Well done.

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  2. Hi Alfred,

    Don't give up! Native gardens are hard to establish, but they are worth the effort. While native plants are adapted to a harsh environment, most seedlings die, so you are looking for that hardy individual. And then we have cars, dogs, kids, and acts of God to contend with. See their deaths as an opportunity to put in more plants. And give yourself at least five years. :-)

    For a verge your area I would be overplanting (perhaps 30-50 plants), knowing that most won't survive each planting. I would also consider reticulation. All plants need water, and in a drying climate the stress on your seedlings is high. Vincent is supportive of verge gardens (unlike Cambridge), so it's a worthwhile investment.

    I'd also be trying to source cheap stock. While Kings Park germinate some wonderful species, their stock is relatively expensive. Vincent's plant sale is good, but I'd also consider Apace WA in Fremantle. They have a soil-based species list you can choose from. And if you buy > 100 plants you get a big discount.

    Hang in there!

    Paul

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  3. Hi Alfred,
    Don't give up, the verge is the hardest part of the garden to plant, imagine 50+ years of cars parking causing soil compaction, verge rubble etc changing the soil, combined with one of the hottest and driest years on record. expect some loses, but the survivors will be strong.
    A couple of suggestions:
    1. Plant some sacrificial plants around the edge to protect the natives. I used mother in laws tongue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sansevieria_trifasciata
    They are spiky and are less likely to be peed or parked on or used as a trampoline.
    2. Reticulate for the first year, even natives like water once a week in the first year, add some worm juice on cool mornings.
    It might increase your survival rate a bit, mine is around 60% from an October 2014 plant.

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