I wanted to proliferate. It is the cancerous ambition of life – to thrive, grow, become many, as best you can, for as long as you can, isn’t it? Life is a little creepy, I know, so greedy and desperate. Bring on those calm, measured robots, as long as they are programmed by dour scientists, right? Life is volatile, predatory, sneaky … Oh, I know it is great being alive, but it is all so grubby really, isn’t it?
Quality of life is not important to me, I live to live – that is my quality. I am spread through many means, but luckily for me, most readily through the mulch favoured by Australian gardeners, that chunky eucalyptus dominated confection that Melbourne councils began to use so extensively in the late '90s. After the Dutch Elms started to struggle in prolonged and obviously repeatable droughts, they surrounded them in a bed of mulch to the extent of their root systems. Cut down on their grass cutting costs, I’ll bet, having these great bays of decaying vegetation surrounding these grand but delicate trees.
Mulch became de rigeur during that renaissance of house pride, when every home maintenance TV show paraded truckloads of the stuff being dumped into newly renovated native gardens. It was an easy nod to ‘environmentalism’, a way to feel less guilty about the pending end of life on earth, a style, a semi-permanent fad. Mulch became a comforting texture, plants in bare earth a shameful condemnation. Denuded Italian gardens produced still; but public spaces and most anglo gardens were cosily blanketed in mulch, luxuriant layered cakes of it, and I was on.
There was so much of the stuff to go around – councils had to prune any potentially dangerous trees continuously, one of the costs of a more litigious society which pushed rates up and filled steaming combusting piles at depots.
Dying trees in usually glorious parks; naked dormant fountains – a couple of those droughts really seemed to have wrought policy changes at local government level.
‘To protect mature trees in the drought, Council has removed turf and aerated and mulched the base of many park trees and, to date has spread approximately 100,000 cubic meters of mulch under trees to reduce water consumption and improve root growth.
A good layer of mulch can reduce evaporation from your soil’s surface by as much as 70%.’
You have to be lucky, and of your time.