The Quiet Achievers: Earth Creation Landscapes
Pete Goodlet discovers the quiet achievers creating a peaceful and prolific garden sanctuary – for you and your neighbours.
Gardens are our sanctuary, a patch of green that gives us a buffer from the toils and foibles of the outside world. A little time spent in your organic oasis, releases feel-good endorphins. That said, the more help you can get in your patch of paradise the better. Bring on the quiet achievers!
Earthworms are the little snub-nosed heroes of the garden. They aerate the soil as they chew their way through organic matter, leaving castings rich in potassium, nitrogen, magnesium and phosphorous. Their tunnelling increases root penetration and water holding capacity. Reward these little workers with lots of mulch and keep the soil moist and they will make your soil rich and your plants happy. Scatter leafy kitchen waste under the mulch and they will almost sing with joy.
A worm farm kept in a cool shady spot will keep kitchen waste out of landfill and provide nutrient-rich worm tea to use as fertilizer.
Some quiet achievers get around en masse, a handful of dirt will hold many millions of manic, microbe minions (try saying that after a few G&Ts!). These tiny soldiers convert organic matter into minerals and fertilisers easily accessed by your plants. Spoil these beauties with lashings of compost, mulch and water.
Mulch is a multi-faceted material that not only looks good, it smothers weeds and their seeds and keeps the moisture in the soil. A good 50mm layer of mulch will regulate the soil temperature; provide food and homes for worms and microbes; and keep harsh sun and heavy rains from stripping soil nutrients.
After laying mulch, spray the area with a mix of seaweed and fish emulsion to create a layer of active microbe-rich material that will feed your plants as it breaks down. Pebbles and gravel offer protection and look stunning. White pebbles have the added benefit of bouncing light to give a lift to shady areas. So, get your rocks on!
Keeping all these handy helpers happy is a chore in itself. This is where a well-planned watering system comes into its own. Not all plants are created equal and this is certainly the case when it comes to watering. Try to keep your plants grouped according to water needs and plan your watering system around this. Timers can be set to suit. Vegetables, especially lush greens may need daily watering while shrubs and trees love a weekly soaking. While we try to drink in moderation, plants thrive on a weekly binge.
Water features add peace to a garden and can be as simple as a bowl spilling onto pebbles that hide a hidden reservoir; to an elaborate series of ponds with waterfalls, waterlilies and a family of Koi. A few goldfish in a large stone bowl is a simple way of bringing more friends into your life. In turn they will polish off the mosquito larvae as they quietly add a touch of Zen. Get the professionals in to ensure a leak-free and well-planned aqua addition.
I can’t talk about the quiet achievers of the garden without mentioning Stuart and his team from Earth Creation Landscapes who have switched many of their maintenance and construction tools to rechargeable battery-operated units. Gone are the noisy blowers, trimmers and tools that torture the work-from-homers; shift workers and the daytime nappers. Now you can have the visual delight of a strapping gardener, soldiering away in your garden without the distraction of a noisy tool. Keeping you and your neighbours extremely happy! Sit back, relax and raise a glass to your garden’s quiet achievers.