Login | Sign Up

Submit an Article

Arts Food News Other People Sport Videos


By Nicola Saltman, Chief Environmental Officer - Waverley Council on May 8, 2017 in News

Hello possum.

Imagine our world devoid of plants and wildlife. This stark picture is enough to sour your coffee (sorry). Unfortunately, it could be the way we’re headed in Australia, if outcomes from the recent national State of the Environment report are anything to go by.

The report shows that our biodiversity is under increased threat and continues to decline at a rapid rate. The top culprits? Feral species, urban development and habitat fragmentation.

It’s not all bleak, however. There’s plenty we can do in our own gardens to help little critters and native plants thrive.

“With a bit of thought, you can attract butterflies and other insects, lizards, birds and even small mammals, providing a valuable refuge for local wildlife,” said David Bateman from Randwick Community Nursery.

Birds and other animals can also help control damaging insects.

Gardening is also great for fitness and flexibility. There are also social perks, as Bronte local Kim Isaacs has discovered.

“Our nature strip looks more natural and loads of people comment on it,” she said. “I’ve met lots of my neighbours in the time I spend gardening there.”

With International Day for Biodiversity on May 22, we’ve asked local experts for their top tips to make wildlife-friendly gardening second nature this autumn…

Celebrate the differences
It’s good to grow a range of plants, including grasses, groundcovers, shrubs and several taller trees that suit different creatures.

“Wrens, for example, seek out grasses such as Poa for nesting material” Mr. Bateman said. He also suggested that butterflies like brightly coloured, shallow throated flowers. Smaller birds like plants that attract insect food, typically scented flowers in white, blue, cream, or yellow hues. Sunny spots are perfect for blue-tongued lizards and other reptiles, with dense vegetation or a wood pile nearby for hiding.

Bring colour to your patch
Choosing plants that flower, fruit and seed in different seasons cannot only add a burst of colour to your garden, but can provide important food, especially when scarce in winter. Waverley Council Bushcare Coordinator Sue Stevens suggested the following winter-flowering plants to attract birds and insects: local wattles, native peas, and the climber/scrambler golden Guinea nine. For fruits, plant lilly pillies.

Nourish your garden

Give your plants a fertiliser boost now before heading into winter.

“Plants put energy into their root zone during autumn which makes for stronger plants and lots of healthy new growth come springtime, Mr. Bateman said.

Mr. Bateman recommended to also cut back on watering, but “remember that autumn and winter winds can be very drying”. Good rule of thumb? Water twice a week, but check soil moisture to make sure plants don’t dry out.

Tidy with care
According to the experts, autumn is a great time for pruning. That said, Mr. Bateman advised that “before you prune a shrub or tidy up a pile of leaves, think about whose home it may be”.

You can pledge to create a wildlife friendly garden and Council will help you to do just that at secondnature.org.au. For local local native plants and advice, visit Randwick Community Nursery. To view the Australia State of the Environment report, visit www.environment.gov.au/science/soe.



Best Of The Archives

The Beast.