Garden

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We never really know, from day to day, what each day’s work will look like. Nor do we know whom will be tasked with which project. The children’s needs come first so meals and laundry and school are always on the list. But each of the children ends up helping with whatever needs doing, be it household or homestead chores.

Boys do laundry and girls water trees and everyone does dishes. Girls chase chickens and boys chop potatoes and everyone takes a turn at sweeping the floor. The only hard and fast rule is that everyone pitch in with a good attitude for whatever task they are given.

One thing is certain, though, when the chores of the day are doled out over breakfast: If it’s planting time, everyone is volunteering.

And now that Annie is four and pretty much shadowing her Daddy whenever she gets the chance, she is consistently asking to “pwant seeds” and “go with you”… as is Ruthie. So last week when the rains were slated to come (and boy, did they ever) I found her in the garden next to Daddy, planting tomatillos.

Since Daddy spent much of the day outside, it was there that she remained until everyone came in for supper. Her skin was sun kissed; her hands stained with soil. She fell into bed that night and was fast asleep long before anyone else.

It may not have been her other most requested task – pie-making– but I’m pretty sure it was by far her favorite chores of the week.

Do you ever head to your local gardens or closest national park and wonder how it manages to stay so beautiful year round? It could be because it’s a native garden.

A native garden consists only of plants that are native to your country and region. They are easy to maintain as they’re adapted to flourish in the local, environmental conditions. They also help the local wildlife by providing them with a source of food and shelter.

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Jeffrey Betts Pumpkins

How to create a native garden

It doesn’t matter what size your backyard is, there will always be room for some native plants. Here are some tips to help you started on creating your own native garden design.

1. Decide what you want

Before starting off you should ask yourself: What style of garden would I like? What level of gardening skills do I have? And, how much time do I want to spend maintaining it? These questions will help you figure out what type of native garden is suited to your situation

Generally speaking, a native bush garden will be low maintenance and a delicate, while a flower-based garden will require more care.

2. Check your soil

Having soil that will support the growth of your selected native plants is important. If you are unsure what soil is needed, ask the local plant nursery or refer to your local government website. We even have our own guide to make homemade soil if you’re looking to save money and keep control.

3. Make a map of your garden space

Mapping out your garden will help you see where all the plants will fit. It will also bring to light anything that may affect their growth. This could include water pipes, large tree roots and rocky areas. Remember that working with the environmental features of your garden is always better than trying to fight them. A free planning tool like this might help!

4. Consider mature plant size

It’s worthwhile taking into consideration the mature growth size of each native plant you are planning on growing. You don’t want to end up with a garden that’s out of control and difficult to manage.

5. Water feature

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Pixabay Blue Jay bird

Having a pond, bird bath or some sort of water feature in your garden will encourage the native wildlife to visit. They’ll be able to enjoy a source of water while using your native garden for shelter.

How much will a native garden cost?

The cost of your native garden will depend on its size as well as the plants you have picked. Typically, maintaining a native garden will be more affordable than trying to maintain plants that are not suited to your region.

The start-up cost of your native garden will be the amount you spend on the native plants, mulch, fertilizer, watering systems and gardening tools.

Where?

To purchase native plants, visit your local nursery or contact your local counsel to inquire about other stocklists.

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Pixabay Australian Banksia

It’s human nature to look beyond our own shores for inspiration so perhaps you would like to consider some other plant options that are still suited to your climate.

For example, did you know that in California, Australian native plants like these have long been a part of gardens? The climate in perfectly suited to growing them. So think about your area and consider whether anywhere else in the world has a similar climate. It’s possible you could easily grow an Australian gum tree in your yard.

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