Indigenous Australian plants haven't always had it their own way over the years, with thousands of invasive species arriving to populate suburban gardens and plenty of new pests coming over as well. But nowadays, it's possible to create gardens that encourage the country's ancient plants, helping to protect them for future generations.
The value of indigenous garden designs isn't just to protect plant species. As the experts at ABC's Gardening Australia report, indigenous Aussie plants create the perfect habitat for the country's native insects and birds, helping to invigorate the soil and resulting in gardens which match up beautifully to the country's landscapes and wild plants.
If this sounds like your perfect garden, how can you make it happen?
Pick the perfect mix of species to create the effect you desire
The first thing to do is to select the right plant species for your arrangement. Don't feel restricted by what you are familiar with. Look into flowering natives like the Coastal Pink (Correa alba) or Crimson Tide (Correa puchella), or species with excellent drought tolerance such as the Aussie Rambler (Carpobrotus glaucescens) and start to visualise how they will look around your yard.
Matching up plants with climate is essential in Oz as well, so make sure you purchase species which can handle the kind of heat and rainfall expected in your area. One of the beauties of indigenous gardens is that they tend to be well-adapted to Australian conditions, but you still need to choose wisely.
When it comes to borders, go for Aussie plants as well. Shrubs like the Grey Box (Westringia fruticosa) are perfect for shaping your garden, with a height of no more than 45cm and great drought tolerance.
Use landscape supplies to sculpt the perfect Aussie environment
Creating great indigenous gardens is about much more than picking the perfect portfolio of plants. There may be some legwork involved as well. For example, in places where rainfall is relatively scarce, mulching is vital. Specialist landscape supply companies offer a wide range of mulches made from Aussie woods, often featuring sustainably produced offcuts from sawmills. Pick one which suits native plants and has the right colour. Something fairly light and fine should do the trick.
It's also essentual to "feed the soil" with the right compost blend. Suburban soils will often start out fairly depleted and might not be ideal for native plants. But with the right composts and soil conditioners, that can be overcome. Specialist varieties featuring spent coffee grounds and native humus will quickly enrich your soil enough to let natives thrive.
And think about physical changes too. For example, creating swales can help to capture rainwater, instead of letting it flow off your property, while shade can be manufactured by raising or lowering soil relative to large trees and walls.
When you get into it, creating indigenous gardens is a fascinating, rewarding experience. Just make sure you start out with the right landscape supplies and species, and you'll soon carve out a little corner of Aussie heritage to be proud of. Contact a landscape supply company like Hayter's Timber & Paving for additional advice.
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