NZ Lifestyle Block

The design features that didn’t work for me


I laid out my productive garden in clusters and shapes according to an easy lawnmowing route.

When the trees were young, I created beds of wildflower­s between each group, added in vegetable gardens, and heavily mulched around each tree.

■ The wildflower­s needed a lot of attention and I didn't want to spray when it was time to resow them. They look wonderful, and I recommend planting them if you have a big, bare area of soil, but I don't think of them as a long-term prospect as they were just so much work.

■ The vegetable garden didn't work longterm either. The digging, weeding, and root competitio­n definitely affected the roots of the fruit trees. Even a heavily-fed, no-dig asparagus crop under the pear tree was detrimenta­l to both. Eventually, I created a designated vegetable garden away from the shade and competitio­n of trees.

■ I underestim­ated how much room I'd need between the citrus and boundary fence (that's the mistake pictured on page 46). It meant mulching between them had to be abandoned. Couch grass (also known as twitch) kept growing through the mulch no matter how thickly it was applied or how often I weeded it. It was easier to control it with the lawnmower.

One thing that did work well over the long-term was bulbs under the plum trees. The bulbs were happy to flower, and I didn't have to mow that area until autumn.

Wildflower­s look wonderful, but there is a downside.

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