Drought, bushfire & flood: now is the time to reimagine your garden

First there was prolonged drought. Then came unprecedented bushfires. Just when we thought things couldn’t get anymore crazy, we had torrential rain and wind throughout the Blue Mountains, Nepean and the plains of the Central West. A garden disaster, right? Wrong! Now is actually a great time to reimagine your garden. First step: leave everything and take a moment to survey the damage. Take note of where the lawn is drowned, what tree branches have fallen and where, the natural path of water flow, mud patches, dislodged pebbles, dead and burnt plants and what furniture and features were blown about by the wind. Now, let your imagination run amok. What does your dream garden look like? For example, notice where last week’s rainwater collected into puddles that refused to drain away. That might be an ideal spot for a fishpond or a water tank to harvest water for use during dry spells. Did your prize cherry tree get singed by fire? Was your fence burnt? Are the hydrangeas beyond saving because of the drought? While it’s unfortunate when plants die, especially large trees and those that have historic or sentimental significance, now is a great opportunity to reassess how you can make better use of the space, work with the land rather than against it, harvest rainwater and add a new colour and texture palette. It’s also a chance to implement some modern, more environmentally friendly practices and products. One method we’ve embraced at Now & Zen Landscapes is xeriscaping. It encourages sustainability and resourcefulness and drastically reduces (even completely eliminates) the need for supplemental irrigation. Xeriscaping instead emphasises the use of pervasive plants like Dietes Tiny Dancer (wild iris), Erigeron (seaside daisy) and Dymondia (silver carpet); managing water loss; and reducing fertiliser use and pest control. It starts with planning and design. That’s where your study of the natural terrain comes in – notice where rainwater flows on your property.   After you’ve installed irrigation areas and harvest points like dams, ponds and underground tanks, you can introduce drought-tolerant, fire retardant plants (even after this dumping of rain!) and landscape features such as stone walls, decking, limited lawn areas and seating. Don’t forget your soil. Make sure it’s “living’’, well aerated and rich with lots of critters like worms and beetles and healthy bacteria by loading it with compost. When it comes to plants, you don’t have to stick with Aussie natives. Have a look at those from similar climates such as parts of the US, South Africa and the Mediterranean. Ask your nursery for Brachyscome, Cordyline, Ficus (green island), Stachys lanata (lamb’s ear), Westringia Zena, Caprosma Rainbow Surprise (mirror bush), rosemary, lavender, Grevillea, Helichrysum italicum (curry plant), agapanthus, Anigozanthos Ranger (kangaroo paw) and, of course, succulents. Your garden doesn’t have to be arid and shrivelled in the dry, but don’t just rely on water to keep it moist. Play around with mulch, coco and peat logs, water crystals and soil fungi to help retain water and prevent evaporation.

Need help to reimagine your garden? Contact us for a quote.

Drop in to our new showroom on the Great Western Hwy opposite Bullaburra railway station.

Phone: 0404 873 351

Email: info@nowandzenlandscapes.com.au

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