“Whenever you read that you need a product to improve your sand, bring more ‘healthy soil in’, add fertilizer or spend money on stuff to ‘improve your native garden’ or ‘prepare your garden bed’…stop reading and go to the next article…Because they’re not talking about a West Australian native garden.” –Graeme Mitchell
My partner, Graeme, gives the best advice I can think of if you’re researching native verges or gardens. Our Perth sand, our West Australian plants, our climate, are all perfect for bringing life to your verge and garden. And isn’t that a relief?
I won’t go into a long story about how this has been tested and proven, that’s a whole new blog for another day, but if you can accept this for a moment, think about what’s next……
What happens when we add clay, wetting agents, fertilizers, ‘good soils’, compost, mulch etc etc. to the garden? Well, it actually creates a problem for the health of our WA native plants and their incredibly complex, and symbiotic relationships with the sand.
The roots of our West Australian plants know what to exude into the sand in order to activate the bacteria and fungi they require to thrive. The simplest way I can put it into words is that if you plant the best West Australian plants into our sand, give them sufficient water and protection in the early days, they will produce a beautiful outcome.
They don’t need anything more than this.
If you add ‘stuff’, they simply get confused. Then, if they survive all this ‘stuff’, most West Australian plants will grow too quickly and won’t get through the first seasonal cycle because their roots aren’t established properly.
How do I know this to be true?
The business of WA Native Gardens draws on three generations of working with West Australian plants in all sorts of ways. Our founders, myself included, have advised local governments, worked as key advisors to large scale land developers, consulted to the nursery industry, supported wildflower and related community groups, and worked directly with hundreds of home gardeners.
Since the 1970’s we have been collectively responsible for the installation of more than 2 million local West Australian natives in various gardens, landscapes and public open spaces. All of them in Perth sands or in the south west of Western Australia.