The time is now for natives!
There is something about the smell under a native forest canopy. Some of my earliest memories of seeing our country are of being led (sometimes dragged) by my Mum through some of NZ's great walks. I had never seen tree trunks with so much girth, or roots that naturally burst up and out of the ground, acting as steps for some steep bits of track. For moments we would burst into a blazing sun, before slipping back into the shade and freshness of the forest. But it was the smell that I remember most. The musty, damp air that tastes so full of oxygen, it is like stepping inside the lungs of New Zealand.
Our local flora is distinct and varied, and with over 80% endemic to New Zealand, we should be proud to be the guardians of something so uniquely ours. But what to plant? Is it shade you want? Birds? Something that climbs or maybe something to climb on? What you can plant will depend on your local conditions and needs. Go for a stroll and see whats around your area that is doing well and you like the look of. Copy what happens naturally and you'll get the best results. Get creative - your garden is yours and there is little reason to envy the jaded visitor centre garden of cabbage trees fronted by sedges, grasses and flax.
Natives attract birds and bees! - what better way to beautify your section than with the songs and vibrant flashing colours of native birds and insects? Both are looking for different pollen year round which they can get from our natives and flowering shrubs. Here on the Kapiti Coast, each new year brings more native birds and bugs, no doubt due to the good work of DoC conservation initiatives and volunteer planters that have made big headway over the last 10 years. At the moment on the GrowingThings section, birds are loving any trees with berries/seeds. Our winged friends will thrive in your section if you give them a nice, homely, familiar place to hang out.
With the rains coming, now is a great time to get your young plants established. They love a good douse of water as you plant and should settle in nicely over the next few weeks. They'll love lots of mulch too. Natives can be some of the easiest plants to maintain as they can be perfectly adapted to your local environment. Just be aware that some natives will not struggle to get going if there are frosts. Check with your local supplier.
Here's a few words from our in house expert Jan on what she uses to get natives going:
"When we plant a tree or shrub, we stake it (Twistake) or put a seedling shelter/protector over it to give it the best start, protecting the plant from frosts, small animals, wind, and the mower.
Or I put two jumbo hoops over the new planting, and cover with a piece of mikroclima cloth, fixing the cloth to the hoops with our cloche netting clip. Works a treat for citrus and frost sensitive plants. We also use the tree guards, 500 and 1000mm height, made of fluteboard UV protection and guaranteed for 5 years. These are strong and robust and can reuse them year after year. Best used with a wooden stake. And no tools needed when using our products, just push them into the soil. Makes staking and protecting new plantings so easy and hassle free."
We are offering discounts for purchases of 10 units or more on our tree guards and protectors
Love growing native things!