This was held tonight in Waikanae. The branch, which includes the Kapiti Coast and the Mana areas north of Porirua, has 875 members at present which is a good figure and shows that people care about conservation, unlike a few selfish developers.
The Chairman spoke about the volunteer work members have put into areas like the Greendale Reserve and the south bank of the Waikanae River which are now showing good results. Apart from field trips to the two islands and other conservation areas, the next significant day in the calendar is Arbor Day on 5 June.
The guest speaker was Hannah Zwart who works 10 hours a week for the KCDC and does garden work for herself the rest of the time. She spoke about ways to better help your garden plants succeed. A few tips:
* Don’t scalp them with a mower or even cut them too short – the ideal grass length is about 10 cm.
* Leaving the clippings on the lawn helps to mulch and self-fertilize the lawn
* Prolonged dripfeed water is better than hosing and sprinkling. The effects of summer heat will make all parts of your garden very dry and even after heavy rain like we had a week ago, it can still be dry earth once you go down a few centimetres. The roots of plants need water, not the leaves.
* The best time of year to plant is autumn. The soil is still warm and there will be plenty of rain during the winter to assist growth.
* Overplanting followed by thinning (taking out the unwanted ones) when the plants get to a reasonable height is a good way to go, as the plants will protect each other from dryness.
* Don’t underestimate the value of this! It will be by far the most fertile component of your garden.