Digging up the last of our nature strip

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The last patch of grass in the nature strip alongside our house.
The last patch of grass in the nature strip alongside our house.

Soon after we moved into our house in Lewisham, we dug up a section of the nature strip, and planted citrus trees and herbs. While three of the citrus were immediately stolen, we continued to build up the strip in front of our door, until it was lush and vibrant.

A year ago, we pulled up another section of the nature strip, and native plantings quickly took over.

As it turns out, the local council would actually prefer us to pull up little sections of grass, rather than leave them squeezed in amongst other plantings. This makes life easier for the council staff who do the mowing, and helps to reduce the cost of maintaining the streets.

So with just one piece of grass left between the two sets of plantings, we sorted that out this last weekend.

Nothing but bare earth now!
Nothing but bare earth now!

The process of pulling out the grass is easier than it looks. The roots are shallow, so some mattock work lifts out chunks of grass. It’s then just a matter of digging through the soil to get out as many remnant grass roots as possible.

I then topped it up with some spare soil, and added a little native plant fertiliser.

I’ve been growing a number of native plants from cuttings, so these provided the start of what should become a thick bushy area. Plants include mint bushes (prostanthera), correas, dianellas, and a number of ground covers (including pigface). (We planted the grevillea six months ago.)

The start of what should become a thick and bushy strip of native plants.
The start of what should become a thick and bushy strip of native plants.

I collected some free mulch from the local council nursery, and the end result looks rather good I think. Over the next month I’ll finish off the plantings, and by then I’m expecting the seedlings to start putting on some serious growth.

Another piece of grass replaced by native plants, yay!

2 thoughts on “Digging up the last of our nature strip

    Ben Morton said:
    September 8, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Hi, while I am sure you have the best of intentions (i.e. brightening up the street) you seem to have made some common mistakes. Is it possible to conduct a civilised conversation / debate electronically, let’s see:

    1. You have failed to realise that the strip of concrete that runs between your fence and the nature strip is a footpath. A piece of infrastructure for the most environmentally sound forms of transport: walking. Footpaths are designed for 2-way pedestrian traffic….

    2. Many of the plants you have planted narrow the footpath making 2-way traffic impossible. For example the plant jutting out from your fence in the background takes up half the footpath. (Aren’t you satisfied with the size of land you already own, and you feel you need to invade public land?)

    3. The bright green foliage plant in the nature strip opposite it (2. above) is narrowing the footpath.

    4. The Grevillea you have planted: how wide will it be when it matures? (Many gardeners fail to think of the future.)

    I am a mild-mannered, well-educated, professional person but I am a different kind of “Guerilla Gardener”: whenever I meet a plant in my way I get rid of it, permanently. I don’t steal it to re-plant it in my own garden. I guess you call it “Reclaiming The Footpaths”. The majority of property owners aren’t pedestrians and have no interest in keeping the footpath clear of vegetation; some even mistakenly think they own the land between their front fence and the footpath. They put out posters calling me every name under the sun and demand I stop interfering with their plants, shrubs or trees. The way I see it is, if THEIR plant gets in MY way then it becomes MY plant. You wouldn’t plant something that interferes with road traffic so why do it to pedestrians?


      James responded:
      October 7, 2014 at 8:43 am

      Yes! The nasturtiums and borage were taking over the footpath, so we’ve hacked all that back.

      As for the rest, I’d encourage you to drop by to have a look yourself. The plantings have all been done with longer-term size in mind, and they won’t be any more of a hindrance that the lilly pillies planted by the council, etc.

      We get a lot of great comments from people walking by, and I mean a lot. No negative comments so far, so we think we’re on the right track.

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