After days of effort, we managed to beat the rain today and get some of our mountain of trees into… well into the mountain. There are still lots and lots of plants to go, but it’s a good start.
The neighbour’s steers also took a lot of interest in what we were doing, but I think that’s because they think we’re bringing them snacks. We put up a windbreak along that fence in any case, so they shouldn’t get too chewy with the new trees.
Almost everything that we’re planting in this first run is a New Zealand native, and I’ve tried to source trees and plants that grow well in our area. This means pohutukawa, cabbage trees, flax, toe toe – pretty much your standard coastal Auckland landscape. The pohutukawa should give us nice flowers in the summer, but everything else is more sculptural than floral. Therefore I was thinking I might add a lot of bulbs below the trees to bring in some colour, but we’ll see. These are decisions for another day.
After a lot of hunting around for biodegradable weedmat, we also managed to give every plant a little “carpet” of jute matting to help suppress competition while they get established. I’m hoping this will be something of a secret weapon for me, because it’s an exposed site and many trees will struggle. But with the little carpets we’ve also put in the windbreak, new soil, slow-release fertiliser, and a handful of neem granules to give everything the best possible chances. As with all gardening, it is a game of wait and see.
And again, I’m shattered. Up and down the hill with soil, digging, measuring… it’s all wearing me down now.
There is another week’s work to go…