What a wild week for New South Wales. Much of our state has been affected by heavy rain and floods, with many gardens and houses washed away entirely. As gardeners, we know that to lose a garden is heartbreaking. There is no replacing the countless hours of time spent digging, planting, pruning and creating what is undeniably a labour of love. To our customers who have been affected by the recent floods, our hearts go out to you.
There’s no denying that Australia is a continent of extremes. And while you can’t plan for every natural disaster, there are some things you can do to help your garden – and your home – weather the storm.
Plan for rain
Flooding rain can cause a lot of problems in gardens, especially those that are not designed cope with extra water. Excessive runoff damages topsoil, pollutes waterways and can even rot roots and topple trees. One of the best things you can do for your garden is to know where the water runs on your property and to try and capture as much of it deep into the soil as you can. You can do this by applying a thick layer of mulch to your garden beds – 5-7cm is best – as this will help keep your soil warm, moist and protected through every season. Staking tender trees prior to rain can also help them survive when they are laden with heavy water.
Design for rain
Reducing the amount of hard paving you have on your property will also help manage heavy rains, as will installing adequate drainage to help move water away from your home. French drains are simple yet incredibly useful and look stunning in a native garden – fill them with recycled brick aggregate for a natural look. Choose porous paving such as stepping stones surrounded by pea gravel over tile where possible, or create wide green pathways planted with a low ground cover such as Pratia pedunculata or Dichondra repens for a softer look.
Rain gardens are another great way to help reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that ends up in local waterways. Building a rain garden is a simple way to help the environment by collecting runoff from downpipes, guttering or other hard surfaces like driveways and paving into a self watering garden. These can be built either above or below ground, and planted out with hardy native plants that can survive both drought an inundation. Suitable species include Anigozanthos, Baloskion tetraphyllum, Carex appress, Chrysocephalum apiculatum, Dianella, Ficinia nodosa, Lomandra, Myoporum parvifolium, and Patersonia occidentalis. Melbourne Water has a number of fantastic resources for rain gardens to suit any situation.
After the deluge
When the rain has stopped its important to get out in your garden and see what needs attending to. Plants that have snapped branches must be pruned to prevent rot or fungal attack. If you notice yellowing leaves or wilting on any of your plants following heavy rain it’s a good indicator of wet feet. While you may lose a plant or two, to remedy the situation you can plant on mounds, amend your soil with compost, dig a drainage trench or try a more suitable species next time.
Since 1983, the Sydney Wildflower Nursery at Heathcote has been providing residents and visitors from around Australia with quality native Australian plants.
Supplying plants for jobs big and small we pride ourselves on our knowledge, passion and extensive range of beautiful and unusual Australian native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.