This week I had the joy of working hand in glove with one of my son’s in the garden. Our main task was to mulch the garden in preparation for the hot dry summer ahead. It was wonderful to spend time gardening closely with someone else and even more special when it is family and you work so well together. Gardening for me has been, up until now, a solitary experience, so sometimes my tasks seem to take forever to accomplish. We spent three days in the garden and achieved a great deal in a short time. The roses are now mulched with wet layers of newspaper to fight the growth of weeds and a thick layer of compost spread over the top to hopefully help retain the much needed moisture.
Five Good Reasons to Mulch the Garden
1.Water conservation is the main reason we mulch garden beds so the top soil does not dry out too fast. When we water the moisture stays within the soil longer.
2.For the prevention of weeds and reduce the germination of weed seeds. This is not just for the look of a well weeded garden but because plants will not have to compete for moisture and nutrients from the soil if the weeds are kept at bay.
3.Temperature Control as mulch will help keep the soil temperature even and cooler.
4.Organic mulches will add more nutrients to the soil.
5.To reduce runoff which is especially helpful at the moment in our current drought conditions. A lot of topsoil has become hydrophobic and the mulch will help keep the soil from moving and the retain the moisture in the right place.
You have the choice to use either organic mulches or inorganic. My preference is to always use organic substances so that they break down into the soil. Substances such as leaves, straw, sugarcane, grass clippings, compost, wood chips, pine needles, paper, cardboard, coir, bark and sawdust. Inorganic mulches are black plastic, pebbles and gravel or landscape weed mats and the like. All the above mulches will help prevent weeds and sometimes under certain conditions an inorganic weed mat, pebbles and gravel may be the right choice to for paths, garden beds and driveways to give a smooth surface and to combat weeds even though they do not break down into the soil.
Mulches come in all sorts of styles and types so there are ample to choose from. What you finally decide on will depend on the situation and what you intend using it for and of course the aesthetic you are after.
On top of being able to tick off mulching from my task list, we were also able to start a long dreamt of path that was to run along the edge of the garden and verandah. It was fantastic to have help in getting this underway. The path was stripped bare, down to the hard clay, weeded and scraped even and smooth in a matter of hours. We have chosen the gravel/rocks that are to be pressed into the path and all going well I can complete the final stage of the path next week.
Even more exciting for me than the garden tasks and path was the installation of an arch seat in my new garden. This is visible from the kitchen window as I look across the paddocks. The garden is a semi circle against the fence and I’ve planted varied shades of yellow, cream, white, mauve, lilac, purple and orange roses. Under the roses are lavender plants, and a thyme carpet and a few low miniature roses like Gra’s Blue, Delicious and Little Sunset.
The garden sits near the orange tree and has light shading above from a flowering plum tree. Everyday day this week in the early morning I sit and enjoy a tea on the new seat whilst I plot and plan what else to plant in this new space. We worked on the leveling of the garden, adding compost to improve drainage in the clay soil and making it just right with the addition of manure. Today whilst my son dug out the new path I lay the large stepping stones to form a paved area under foot in front of the seat. I absolutely love it. The entire process was not only fun but very satisfying. Together we have created an entirely new area that will be enjoyed on a daily basis.
This is the first photo of the new back garden called by my husband ‘The Mother’s day Garden’, as I began the planning on that weekend in May. The new garden has a mixture of bare root roses and several roses transplanted from the main garden that I moved as colour choices. I intend to post updates on this garden as it unfolds into bloom over Spring. It looks bare now but will quickly become covered with blooms and the Plum tree will provide a small amount of shade. Twilight Glow and Jeannie La Joie climbing roses are planted to climb across the arch.
Header image by Unsplash