Award winning landscape designer and author, Xanthe White, has been Daltons brand ambassador for over ten years. She has plenty of gardening experience and knowledge to impart to home gardeners and professionals alike. Here Xanthe shares her passion for gardening, along with tips, advice and gardening secrets even the most weathered gardener may not know.
Spring into action
It’s been a hot winter. Across the planet, temperatures are rising and we can all see and feel the change that is coming. With the fires in the Amazon putting further pressure on the worlds environment it’s easy to feel despair at the things we can’t control. But actually, each of us as an individual can make a difference to the world around us, a lifetime is actually quite a long time and while the big picture can be overwhelming, the little things we do add up.
Here’s a little checklist to work towards in your gardening that can help you take little steps that when we walk together will create the beginning of change.
A vegetable garden
If you are reading this, I’m probably preaching to the converted but take the time also to celebrate the things you are getting right. Growing food at home, even just some, makes a big difference to the carbon that we use. If you have a garden going, the next steps are to look at the potential to harvest your own water to get you through drier months and take pressure off the main systems.
Composting your waste is a great way to reduce landfill and keep your soil happy. A garden is not a closed system as we know, we eat most of it. So, while you will also be wanting to add more, keeping your waste on-site and putting it back into the earth is super easy. Lots of people don’t like composting because of the smell and the rats! Keeping a compost healthy reduces the smell. This involves the lasagne method of layering garden waste and lime in with the food scraps. The best defence against rats is trapping which is something we should all be doing anyway to help our native birds. You can also try a worm farm for kitchen scraps which keeps the waste sealed so the rats can’t get in.
Planting around waterways is well proven as a win for all. Farmers have led the action in protecting our waterways over the years and some of the best riparian plantings I’ve seen have been on private rural land. That’s because farmers know the value of good soil and how to protect it. We all know though that running a farm is a huge job, and we should all be offering our support to help volunteer and assist landowners with their efforts. Taranaki is a great example where the Council has got behind their landowners and provided plants and organised teams of volunteers to share responsibility for this precious resource. Look out for community planting days that can support the hard work that’s happening across New Zealand.
If you have space, adding some protein-rich plants such as nut trees will help diversify your diet. A little less meat can also make a big difference to both our health and the planets, but we need to replace it with other healthy options. Nuts are an amazing source of energy and delicious. Walnuts almonds and macadamia nuts all grow well here and are super fun to crack with the kids.
Take some time to work with your local school to get them growing and cooking. Those of us who are gardeners know how much joy our kids get from being able to contribute to the kitchen table. It’s like fishing! The joy of your child bringing home dinner themselves and knowing that they can look after you is priceless. If you can offer your knowledge to others who might come from families where time to do these simple things is under pressure, you are giving the greatest gift.
The same amount of carbon has been on the planet since the beginning of time. It is just that at the moment the carbon is being turned from solid and liquid form into gas form. One of the most efficient ways to reverse this is to turn it back into a solid form. It would be great if we had a vacuum that could just do it right? Well, we do. As trees grow, they need carbon to make wood so the good news is if you have land that’s not in use, you can reverse the carbon in the atmosphere. As you watch the trees grow over the years you can be thankful that the magic machine is at work.
Good luck in your little efforts!