Garden Lore

“His greatest passion is for transplanting. Everything we possess he moves from one end of the garden to the other, to produce better effects. Roses take the place of jessamines, jessamines of honeysuckles, and honeysuckles of lilacs, till they have all danced round as far as the space allows.”

Fanny Burney (Madame D’Arblay), Letter to her Father (1794).

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Laying gravel chip

If you are laying gravel or chip, putting down a layer of weed matting first saves a great deal of work in the long run and prolongs the life of the surface. Weed mat allows water to drain through but prevents the mud and soil below from rising up to contaminate the gravel. It also stops weed seeds in the soil from germinating so the only weed germination you will get is what blows in.

We laid this limestone chip maybe 15 years ago. I raked back one corner to show the weed mat secured with a wire hoop. It has kept the chip relatively clean over the years and we still get very few weeds in it. The chip looked alarmingly white when we first laid it on a small square of lawn which we couldn’t reach with our super-duper new lawnmower, but it has mellowed out with time. We excavated down about 7.5cm, maybe 10cm, to allow for sufficient depth so that the weed mat is never visible.

The only maintenance required on this area is removing leaf litter. It was tedious to do with a leaf rake but then we found the leaf blower is perfect for removing windblown litter without disturbing the chip as long as you have a light hand. We plan more gravel paths and will lay weed mat first. It is short term effort for long term gain.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

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