We are pretty lucky here in Dunedin having the wonderful town belt in the centre of our city, but meaningful conservation does not need to be just large public spaces, it can also be a part of your home.
Summer is almost here.
The days are longer and warmer and you are probably thinking that it would be nice to get out in the backyard for a bit of R and R. You might also be thinking how, with all the rain and warm weather, your plants have made a bolt and really need a trim.
Don't worry, we have your back....
We will prune and chip all your trees and shrubs, then spread all the valuable mulch on your garden. Its pretty common to have few gaps afterwards, depending on how out of control some plants may have got. We will prepare and plant these areas too and have your garden looking shipshape for the holidays.
This is a great initiative and one we can all be a part of!
Our latest ad in the Star this evening.
New Zealanders, we love our lawns.
However, in today's world, they are ...
becoming less relevant and some even
consider them bad for us, save for the
exercise achieved while making stripes,
or just getting the mower started.
The main reason is the high amount of fuel
and oil required to keep them looking nice, which is why we have switched to electric/battery power for most of our equipment. A considerable amount of pesticide, fertilizer and herbicide also adds to the environmental burden of turf care.
While some make good use of their lawns,
often, grass is simply used to deal with
areas that have little function, existing
only to be mowed.
Time to re-think how we appreciate open spaces.
Replace awkward or seldom used lawn areas with more expansive plantings. This could be a native garden as a restoration,
or habitat support and food source. Or maybe go with wildflowers, which function similarly to a native planting, but allow more options of colour, plus nectar and pollen for bees.
Cities around the world are responding by creating urban Ecosanctuaries. Dunedin is behind this vision with a movement started by the Valley Project, which aims to create a wildlife link between the city and Orokonui.
Your backyard might make the difference.
Be part of something bigger.
With so much pressure on our environment and so much free space in our gardens, now more than ever it makes sense to consider ditching the lawn in favour of plantings that attract bees and birds to our backyards.
Gardens are, for most New Zealanders, sanctuaries.
Our own place to relax and let go. It is the desire for most homeowners to create wonderful spaces that they can enjoy with family and friends and generally enhance their quality of life. There are many things to consider when creating a great landscape but for us the most crucial is meaning.
Define the why and who this space is for...
It sounds simple but when we take away all the fancy details and materials, what is this garden doing for me? In the quest for getting the most efficient use of space and allowing for every possible activity, there is very often one use not considered, and that is what you need.
Appreciate our heritage
Traditionally, gardens were always a place that would provide. We don't have a ¼ acre anymore but that doesn't mean we cannot achieve great things. Once our rural landscape was able to provide us with great natural habitats full of wonderful flora and fauna and also an abundance of food. Sadly, much of that is now gone or exported.
Bring rural to urban
87% of all New Zealanders live in cities or urban areas. Given the reputation of our country as being a paradise of natural beauty is significant that most of us rarely interact with or understand very much about our native species or how our food is produced. The trend globally now is to bring some of those intrinsic rural functions into the city. We feel that this design movement is pivotal in not only enabling us to create amazing habitats and edible gardens, but is also part of what we need to help us create gardens with purpose.
Choose to create a better place.
Stories in branches
There is plenty to consider when pruning trees but this one was just that bit more special. The garden had been planted in the 70s with some lovely but poorly chosen species. Planted to get up a quick screen but not much thought for what was going to happen in years to come and as such it needed some major work done. Some decisions were made easier as there were a number of species that were well past their best before date, and others that were very badly... formed, but one tree caught my attention. When assessing it I casually asked if she had any grandchildren and do they climbing trees. The answer was yes. I didn't say much at the time but I had a surprise in store. Within the mass of leaves (needles) this tree had a wonderful structure. Instead of heavy lift and removal of branches to let in light I carefully removed fine wood to leave most of the larger branches intact. The result was not only a tree that had more natural form but was now one that you could easily climb. The result was a definitely worth it and the owner was delighted and immediately regaled me with stories of her childhood and how one of her favourites things to do, was to climb a tree, find good branch and read a book. There was also a birds nest at the top which I had trimmed around to add to the experience. It took a bit longer and not every tree is suitable, but this one was less about letting in light, it was about the creation and recollection of memories.
Carrying on with the treehouse theme. I have approached our local city council specifically about the legality of constructing a habitable treehouse. Good news, yes we can do it!
To the child in a tree
It will come as no surprise that I am a bit of a fan of treehouses. Some of my earliest memories are of determinedly hauling planks of timber into the crooks of the highest branches I could reasonably access. I know I was not alone in my quest, due to the very similar constructions to be found amongst the boughs of my friends' trees and shrubs. Getting older did not stop this urge and when I became a dad the desire to climb and build returned, but this ...time I had tools! My later incarnations were much better conceived. Cut to fit, level and with much more lavish aspirations, but still, the basic principle was a perch in the trees. Next to nature, away from danger and a place to see from.
I was walking down a small road in the back of Ophir and I came across this structure and had to stop and admire it. It is not grand, it is not in a good tree, it is not made from good materials and it is in at rubbish spot...literally. But that is exactly why I loved it. Somewhere, at some time, there was a child that had such a desire to build it, that none of these things were going to prevent the realisation of a dream. All one needs is a plank, a tree, a means of access and some imagination.
As a Designer, Photographer and general tree enthusiast, I am drawn to the special interactions and of plants, people and all things living. This phenomenon is an amazing spectacle when we have the opportunity to see it and there are a few species that do it here in NZ too. If you want to see it for yourself you only have to practice two simple steps. Going into a forest, and looking up!