We’ve seen climate change in the garden recently, because we took the first step toward our extension by cutting down some of the trees and shrubs, most of them weed species that had to be removed anyway.
We’re all a bit in shock at how ruthless it’s been.
On the one hand, the house is flooded with light, which is fine now, but doesn’t portend well for summer. On the other hand, there’s no privacy until we can replant.
Not only that, but the birds and possums went missing, and have only just started returning to the garden. I’m not sure all of them will. Clearly we underestimated the use of the weed species.
The garden is boggier without the larger shrubs to draw up the rain, with the potential to bake to hard clay over the summer. I’m not sure how that might affect the construction when it eventually commences.
But, with most of the weed species cleared away, we’ve the opportunity to plan what happens in the garden next. To proactively plant local species and manage the garden in the face of climate change.
Or thinking even more positively: create that lush, well vegetated oasis. Somewhere to relax, and provide more food and shelter for more local wildlife.
To start thinking about that Feng Shui garden.
Including, as it turns out, ponds.
Ponds, pots and bowls
According to Mile Jefferies, as well as habitat, ponds can create carbon sinks, though that’s a longer term proposition than I’ve been thinking (> 20 years). But maybe that’s the point.
We have to start thinking longer term about what we’re doing.
Mind you, the other thing about water in the garden, is it also forms breeding grounds for mosquitos. Which can spread disease. Especially in more tropical climates.
So, Cameron Webb suggests using smaller containers for wildlife drinking water, and emptying them at least weekly. Avoid plat pots with water filled reservoirs, using saucers full of sand instead. If you keep the sand moist, plants can still draw up water but there isn’t enough for the mosquitoes.
As for your carbon sinking pond, add native fish, or frogs (not both). And encourage other mosquito predators like spiders, birds, and fish/frogs.
And it should go without saying, but avoid excessive insecticide use as you do (because of the local wildlife you’re trying to protect).
Trees, shrubs and flowers
And of course, trees are goood carbon sinks as well.
Long lasting tree species, ideally local ones already suited to the conditions, that can adapt to climate change in the garden. Over the next 50 years or so. Ones that will offer shade and create an island of lower tempeature in the garden. At least as long as the local conditions will sustain them.
Watching possums come down out of the trees in the daylight to lie gasping on the ground in the heat is not something I want to see again.
What’s the plan?
So I’ll be doing my best to plan for climate change in the garden, tying to think about how the garden will outlast me. To make it an island of cool that the next people would prefer to retain than to bulldoze in favour of a larger house.