Every summer, I feel very sorry when I take the lawn mower to the beautiful long grass, and all the lovely wild flowers growing in it. There are many bees happily buzzing about in there, enjoy the sweet nectar. A common sight in my childhood, New Zealand honey bees have become less and less over the years. I treasure their presence.
So I have begun to keep a small patch of wild grass wilderness in the garden, just for the bees and the skinks.
This patch is in the corner of the garden, on the edge of a slope, so it is a natural place to leave wild. Under the grass is a patch of rocks, put there by a past resident of this house, under which skinks live. They are the common skink, but I am very fond of them. Unfortunately, so is the cat. I decided to leave let the grass grow wild in this particular spot also because it made it harder for him to find and catch them. It seems to work (I hope!) He has caught less this year, very thankfully.
This patch is not exactly a pristine New Zealand native flora preserve. It’s quite weedy actually. I do take out the more horrible things like nettles and ragwort, but unless I indulged in a major replanting (not a good idea in a rental property) there is not much I can do to have anything else in there.
Other inhabitants also enjoy the undergrowth:
This madam weta waved her claws at me indignantly as I was doing some judicious weeding at the bottom of the slope in the shady area one day. I love these critters. There is something about them that I really like.
The bees just love the honeysuckle, that grows along the fence.
Its sweet fragrance fills the air. Such a delight!
Here is one of my lovelies, enjoying some sweet wild radish. It is not a honey bee, but a smaller common bumble bee, Bombus Terrestris. This was a very busy little thing, I followed it around as it visited each flower.
More weeds… Mexican daisies. Very pretty, but an official pest plant in this part of the world. They have at least been contained to this one area of the garden, plus I think my landlord would have an issue if I ripped it out as it was growing here when I moved in.
I do love these oxeye daisies. Apparently, dairy farmers hate it because the cows don’t like the taste, and they can take over paddocks as a result. Sheep like to eat them though.
It may be a weedy little patch, but the plants are keeping up the bank (which was crumbling before I allowed the plants to take over), and it is giving the bees food, and they make this part of the garden look very pretty with all the flowers.
Nature is taking its course though, as I see the process of reforestation taking place before my eyes. Larger plants are growing in – hebe and coprosma, both hardy New Zealand natives that grow easily and naturally in this part of Wellington.
The hebe has very lovely flowers, which range in colour from the palest mauve to lipstick pink and magenta, and in another year or so, some very pretty flowering bushes will be growing along this bank. They can be kept trimmed and pruned, and will look lovely.
It’s a natural regeneration process. In another couple of years, the weeds will be gone, and the natives will have replaced them, and they will continue to provide food for the birds and the bees.
Perhaps allowing the grass to grow long has brought more benefits than I hoped?