Monday, October 15, 2012

How Good is Your Gardener?

In my work, I get to meet a lot of very lovely people who are quite probably highly skilled in their chosen profession, work and past-times. However, when it comes to the garden that desirable personal quality may not be the case.

A lovely lady, whose property I recently serviced, was having some problems with some of her shrubs. In particular, various fungal infections triggered by last Summer's intense rainfall.

There was another 'gardener' servicing her property before me. He disappeared and didn't return to the work there, so I was appointed. The reason for putting that word (gardener) in inverted commas is because his lack of knowledge was worrying. The advice he had given that lady would have amounted to vandalism or destruction of plants and lawns if she had followed it.

Here's his most dangerous instruction:
  • Use glyphosate (Round Up) on a buffalo lawn to remove weeds. 

If you read the label on glyphosate preparations, it warns pretty clearly that it is an indiscriminate herbicide and, on most labels, warns that it's not safe for buffalo.

If that lady had followed the instruction of that guy, the lawns at her rental property would be dead and she would be up for thousands of dollars in replacement costs.

Fortunately, My Garden Guy advised her of the correct solution - and we carried out the work for her at a lower cost than if she had done it herself.

Moral of the story? Choose your garden and lawn contractor carefully.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Yeah... Cut it later...

I don't mean to be impolite, but some clients still can't get their head around what 'regular lawn service' means.

It's not about your service provider attending to your land as often as possible. A quality lawn and garden service provider will only do what is seasonably necessary on each service. Bluntly, choose a professional service provider.

  • It's about your lawn. 
  • It's about making your lawn healthy and strong. 
  • It's about making your property appear beautiful. 
  • It's about protecting your investment. 
Making your lawn healthy means that it's strong and consistently self-improving and self-maintaining. In that condition, it keeps weeds out. That way, you save money and don't need to play with various weed-killer and fertiliser combinations. Most of those combinations, like "Weed and Feed" varieties, usually may cause more problems than they correct. That's why Canada, at least, has banned "Weed'n'Feed" products.

Think about your home lawns and gardens for a moment. Think critically. Are there things that you don't like? Are there things that look out of place or just not right? Maybe those weeds growing in the middle of your turf? Hmmm... You know what you really need to do, don't you?

If you have new turf installed, you can be sure that it needs suitable water and feeding, and trimming and cutting in due course. Don't cut it too soon, with enthusiasm, and don't let it grow too long by being 'careful'. Both ends of the spectrum have risks.

Lawns? Cut 'em. Cut them at a schedule which matches your land's demand. No sooner, no later.

You know the difference between a good wine and bulk cask wine. You know the difference between a Mercedes and a cheapie. You know the difference between farm-fresh and supermarket product. You know how to make quality choices.

Make a quality choice and be certain that your approach is consistent.

Cut it later? Yes, we can do that. Can you live with it?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Soil. It's More Than Dirt.

A long time ago, Gary Larson put out one of his famous and memorable cartoons showing cavemen who proposed a Periodic Table. That first element proposed was dirt: 'De'.

The soil in your garden is more than ordinary dirt.

Let's take a look at what garden soil - and good garden soil - really is.

Yes - it is dirt. Dirt is, more or less, various inorganic particulate matter. What that means in ordinary English is that it's made of bits of various kinds of stones and sands and clays. It does contain some minerals and trace elements which will make your garden better. However, on its own, dirt isn't that interesting.

Organic matter is what makes soil really interesting. Decomposed organic matter usually is various decomposed plant and animal matter. Plant matter is, obviously, decomposed leaves and twigs and the like. Animal matter is normally manure - in other words: animal poo. We'll go into more detail about what poo is safe and what you need to do to the different kinds to make it useful. Some kinds, in the 'raw' state will cause more problems than they will solve.

Microbial and other 'live' activity completes the perfect three. In a healthy compost or garden there are many kinds of unicellular, microbial and other microscopic organisms at work. There are also many lifeforms which you can see. Usually, common earthworms are a really good indicator of a soil's health. There are many more. However, in this case, if you have worms, you have something good happening.

If your soil doesn't seem to have these three things happening, then some repairs are needed.

There's more to it than first meets the eye. Check in with us again another time  for some hints about making your soil different - and making it better. More importantly, we can show you how to make it suit the plants and trees and crops you're most interested in.

Until soon!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Why do I need to mow so often?

Sometimes, the question "Why does the lawn need to be cut so often?" comes up.

Here's why:
  • If you let it grow for a long time, it doesn't look tidy. 
    • How tidy you like it is up to you. That's a personal thing.
    • In some neighbourhoods and stratas and estates, some other co-residents have a pre-conceived idea about how that place should look. Thus, it isn't completely up to you. Sometimes, penalties may apply, including the strata or estate forcing some expensive guy to do your lawn and garden, against your wishes. 
    • In some localities, a long grassed area can represent a fire hazard and may be subject to legally enforceable penalties. Those penalties can be far more costly than the cost of regular, or even irregular, maintenance. 
  • If a lawn is cut infrequently, it can become unruly and hard to return to a smooth and well-cultured state. 
    • This is can be costly to correct to a basic standard. 
    • It can also be very costly to correct basic standard. (Yes, same reason twice - for a reason... it really is that bad.)
    • It can be extremely expensive to correct to a perfect standard.
During the warmer seasons - say Spring and Summer - a Couch grass lawn can grow up to 450 mm or more in a six week period. Imagine your land, covered in luscious Couch grass to a depth of eighteen inches! It's not just the height that is the issue, but what happens to the root and leaf structure during that time.

If you had that Couch grass lawn, and you went away for a break over Christmas and a month or so, then that refined lawn would have become nearly feral by the time you came home. The effect is that the finely controlled leaf structure which you so carefully cultivated would have grown massively; the root structure may have more than quadrupled; and the result is a grass that is reaching for the sky and endeavouring to reproduce more wildly than rabbits partaking of aphrodisiacs. Yes. It really is that bad - a hugely knotty mass that looks more well suited to an agricultural setting than your lovely home.

Regular mowing, lawn and garden service? It's not just an investment - it's insurance.

Like to know more? Call us on 02 8006 5543 or visit or e-mail us. We're ever so happy to help.