Get out into the garden and enjoy!
It’s time to dust off the garden gloves, pump the wheel barrow tyre up and service the garden tools. April is my favourite time of the year in the garden. There is a sense of anticipation and excitement for cool weather and rain and with no excuse to avoid the garden because of hot weather it’s time to go for it and enjoy no matter if you have 3 plants or 3 hectares.
Quality tools make gardening fun
When the garden tools are dragged out of the shed for another season after a long summer it’s time to take a moment and run a critical eye over them. Heavy, unbalanced tools make gardening hard work and can cause strain injuries. A visit to a Garden Centre will reveal a tool for every gardening task imaginable. Look for tools that feel balanced in the hand, are lightweight and made from hard wearing materials. Try it out in the shop, if there is something that feels like it’s not right, try another brand or style.
Many of the reputable brands of tools have clever features that work for the operator and not against them. Seek out these features and see if they are an advantage for the purpose you are planning to use them for.
Keep tools sharp, oiled and cared for. Sharp tools will result in tasks completed with less effort, which means you can garden for longer periods of time before fatigue sets in.
Seek out quality lightweight long handled tools that will last a lifetime. Long handled digging tools are a gardener’s best friend. Use the long handle to your advantage and reduce the amount of bending by taking advantage of the extra leverage from the longer handle.
Top Tips for strain free gardening
- Always have sharp, quality lightweight tools, less effort is needed for continued use.
- Vary tasks and position every 15 minutes to use different muscles.
- Stand up and take a walk around often.
- Avoid twisting and lifting at the same time.
- Invest in quality knee pads or a kneeling pad to protect the knees.
- Practice doing a little at a time rather than trying to complete tasks all at once and suffering the next day from very sore muscles.
- Leaf Cutter Bees are trimming up rose leaves. These native bees cut a perfect circle shape in the soft new foliage. They don’t actually eat the leaf they are busy building their nest in the end of a hose or a sprinkler. Tolerate a few holes in the leaves as these beneficial insects prey on the destructive insects in the garden.
Have you ever wondered what is attacking rose leaves and leaving perfect semi-circle cut outs on soft new leaves? This is the fabulous work of one of our native solitary bees. These important bees can drive gardeners to despair as they witness the gorgeous new growth disappear before their very eyes. The Leaf Cutter Bee doesn’t actually eat the leaf. It uses its strong mouth piece to shear off the leaf and then places it between the back legs to transport it to the narrow hole it’s found to build its nest. If you come across a nest built of leaf pieces it’s an architectural marvel. Overlapping leaf pieces jammed into a narrow opening is a safe protected home for the larvae to develop. Marvel at their ingenuity and don’t reach for the spray as the Leaf Cutter Bee is an important part of the pollination process in the garden.
Many home owners look at the verge space and see the potential to change the street appeal of their home. There are so many opportunities to put it to good use, either by planting with lawn substitute species or using it as a continuation of the front garden, selecting ground covers for the road edge.
Others see this space as the idea space to establish productive fruiting trees and who are willing to share produce with passers-by.
Before any changes are made to the verge area it’s a good idea to check the verge garden policy with the local council. Many councils are pro-active and have seized the opportunity to work with residents who want to beautify and improve their street appeal. If the verge is being retrofitted from lawn to garden bed areas, a simple landscape sketch plan may be all that’s required to receive the go ahead. It’s a good idea to include mature heights of plants intended to be planted. This will save the local council time as they don’t have to search varieties and demonstrates that you’ve done your research when it comes to selecting suitable varieties.
As a general guide and a starting point;
- Plants over 50cm in height are not permitted to be planted.
- If a tree is to be planted it must be under pruned to ensure the pedestrian visual line of sight isn’t impeded.
- Street trees must not interfere with overhead power lines.
- In the case of footpaths foliage mustn’t grow over the edge.
- Avoid planting spiny or varieties that are known to cause allergies.
It’s important to remember that this land remains the property of the local government jurisdiction and if they need to change or dig up the area for any reason they have the right to do so. Even though these rules seem daunting local councils are very keen to see homeowners and residents caring for and beautifying their verges and are more than willing to work with residents for the benefit of the area.