You may be surprised at what you’ll find in your garden beds. I know I often am!
Many times when I’m creating a yearly plan for my customers, the question comes up, ‘Should I add clay?’
In fact, early this year one of my customers was quoted close to $10,000 to add clay so that her garden beds could be ‘made ready’……$10,000!
Now I realize Perth gardens and sands are not ‘natural’ in the way they used to be before urban development, but my answer to this question is almost always NO.
I’ve made a couple of assumptions, to be clear, including that you’re looking to create a healthy, sustainable and beautiful water-wise garden or verge. If this is correct for you, then please don’t put any clay in your garden beds. WA native plants simply don’t need it if you plant the appropriate plant for your location.
The science is clear, as is my own experience, that WA plant roots’ exude what they need into the sand directly, to activate the bacteria and fungi in order for that sand to support the plant with exactly what it needs.
I can say this is true with absolute confidence, based on my experience of either planting, or supervising the installation of, more than 1 million WA plants in Perth and the South West.
When clay, or for that matter, wetting agents, fertilizer (including slow release or native fertilizers), organic material and so on, are added into our Perth sands, our local plants simply get confused. Most of my clients initially find it challenging to plant into our Perth sand with no additives and let the plant do the work, but that is exactly what is required to have a thriving native garden. And once the results start to show in plant health and seasonal colors, the gardeners we work with don’t look back.
If you get the right plants for your location and plant them appropriately, and directly into your Perth sand, they will thrive. Without adding anything, including clay.
If you are planning a conversion to a native garden or verge and you’d like a second opinion before you spend money on ‘changing your sand’, adding clay, or anything to do with ‘getting your garden bed ready’ …please call me. I expect I’d be able to show you how to save money AND create a thriving native garden that you’ll love as much as the local birds and insects.
Boxed Green is a local plant advisory service in Perth, Western Australia. We support home gardeners with plant selection, delivery and placement for all situations, advice on how to transition home gardens to local native plants and run workshops to share the knowledge and experience of 3 generations of connection to WA plants.
Go to the links for a free 15 minute phone consult with a Boxed Green local plant specialist, or a 2 hour free workshop on gardening with WA native plants, or register your e-mail and suburb to keep up to date with our latest offers here.