Focus on garden’s microclimate

From left, are Annwen Mazetti from Thrive Horticulture, Melanie Britz from Harcourts Platinum and Annetjie van Rooyen from Smith Tabatha Buchanan Boyes.

We need to get used to gardening in a different way and we might need to change our idea of beauty, as we evolve our ideas of what a garden is supposed to look like in creative and innovative ways.

With new levels of water restrictions in force and amid indications that water scarcity is not necessarily just a short-term crisis.

This was the message from horticulturist Annwen Mazetti, from Thrive Horticulture, during a recent talk on water-wise garden design.

Mazetti was one of the speakers at the third Taking you Forward property investment seminar that was held by Harcourts Platinum in Somerset West, on May 17.

“The simplest, best thing you can do for your garden is to mulch it to a depth of about 8cm, with an organic material like woodchip or bark chip.

Mulching insulates the soil, regulates the ground temperature, creates a habitat for earthworms, stops weeds and improves the way raindrops disperse when falling.

Mulching is an important part of affecting the microclimate of our gardens.

The ideal microclimate also include trees as a living canopy above and shrubs to screen the garden from the hot desiccating wind that can dry out the soil,” she said.

According to her, the term water-wise can be misleading, as some types of planting called water wise in nurseries can still need weekly or fortnightly watering in the height of summer, while other plant groupings can survive with far less than that.

Water wise garden design is not a one size fits all approach, but a skillful weaving of different threads into a living tapestry that will serve the family or business going forward, she explained.

Some of these threads that are woven together include what the garden is used for, what the garden owner’s needs are currently and going forward, what water is available and also their emotional relationship with the garden.

It also has to work on a practical and budgetary level.

Other topics she addressed included the pros and cons of greywater systems, the importance of water harvesting and mixing the two, the role of permeable hard landscaping.