Native garden makeover

Written by Kim Harris

Australian wildlife love Australian flora so why not make your garden into a beautiful oasis that will undoubtedly bring joy to you and the local wildlife. Attract bees, birds, frogs, and wildlife into your garden using native plants and techniques.

In the 1970s natives were all the rage, they declined in popularity 90’s/00’s but thankfully the Aussie garden is again on trend. Natives have been grafted by expert horticulturist to formulate smaller dwarf varieties of natives which were often too big for the suburban yard.

Make your functional garden a piece of living art – pick a variety of foliage colours and ground covers. Compliment with a statement piece like a large piece of stone, bird bath or sculpture.

In this edition of Alive Magazine, I transformed a suburban front garden from lack lustre hedges, weeds, and bushes into a Biome Australian Native Garden and Frog Pond. Drawing inspiration from the riverbank, desert, outback, and Australian bush. I incorporated a pond to attract local frogs, insects and lizards.

Bees pollinate flowers & food, making wax & honey. Super important insects for humanities survival. One out of every three mouthfuls of food depend on the pollination efforts of our bee they pollinate 90% of wild crops and about 70% of all global crops.

Native Birds enjoy feasting on nectar and seeds from native plants. Much like farmers, they spread seeds & continue the germination cycle, vital players in the global ecosystem. Birds do their bit by turning the soil, seedling deposits and keeping pests and rodents under control.

Enough about the birds and the bees … let’s talk about the flowers and the trees!

The Plan

Make clever plant choices that allow your garden to have flushes of colour and flowers in every season, all year round.

Australian flora is typically vibrant, textured, drought tolerant, and generally hardy (once established).

Native plants
Edibles for YOU + BIRDS & BEES
Kangaroo Paw (My Must Have)
Sandstone crusher dust
Steppingstones (seal coat x2 applied before laying)
Rusty, bendable sectional dividers (Oxy Shield)
Frog pond with wetland plants
Community Herb Garden – providing free herbs to those passing by
Biome design – incorporating various qualities of the Australian landscape

Sketch it out: Feature multiple height levels, various textures of materials, complimentary colour scheme to home.

Think about sizing: Shrubs, ground cover plants, trees. Don’t get plants that don’t won’t suit your garden space when they grow larger.

Research plants that suit your geographic location, soil type, sun exposure, water usage.
Chat with the Nursery: good nurseries love helping customers find the right plants.

Absolutely read the planting guide tag for adequate sizing, sun, water requirements are so important for success.

Drainage: Many Native plants struggle or die of root rot (soggy feet) if they don’t have adequate drainage. Keep this in mind when selecting plants.

Preparation is key

Pull out any big roots systems, weeds, and debris.
Cultivated the soil: Turning over with pitchfork, aerating, promoting drainage.
Dig, mix, turn in suitable fertilizer and soil conditioner.

Topcoat/Ground Cover: For this project we wanted to create a sectional muti dimensional biome.

-Applied: Thick layer of outback bark, river stone pebbles, sandstone crusher dust, sugarcane mulch.
-Gypsum and/or sand will assist in drainage and break clay
-Apply Water Crystals if soil is dry and lacking water retention
-Native Garden Bush Feed/Fertilizer

Dig a hole 3 times the size of your potted plant.
Fill with water, add any nutrients and hose in additional water to mix
Allow hole to drain
Open out root system, no need to be gentle
Plant your native in a suitable spot
Backfill with soil
Cover with topper of your choice
Water well. Keep up daily watering for a week or two

Worms: Look out for garden worms as they indicate a healthy patch. Friend not foe.

Project Plants:

Kangaroo Paw x 3
Mulla Mulla
Banksia Tree
Leptospermum Dwarf Red Tea Tree x 3
Grevillea Lilliane
Grevillea New Blood
Native Rice Flower
Mini Mondo Grass
Velvet Leaf Wattle
Salt Marsh Rush Grass
Sweet Basil
Native Bush Thyme
Spring is the perfect time to create your own wildlife haven or community herb garden, head on down to Hervey Bay Garden Centre 132 Scrub Hill Road, Dundowran for all your native plant, fertilizer, potting mix and landscaping supplies.