Taming that bush

    Have you ever wanted to make more of the bushy landscape in your back garden? Here’s how…

    In such an environmentally unique country as Australia, it’s important to support and maintain our native flora and fauna – the easiest way we can do this is through the maintenance and care of our native gardens.

    To try and neaten the appearance of a native garden, focus first on caring for the roots of existing trees. Simply maintaining the area is the best way to give your bushland a tidy appearance, removing fallen leaves and dropped pods and sticks will do wonders for the garden’s overall appearance.

    Another crucial step in caring for existing native flora is ensuring that you don’t bring in an introduced species – these are considered “garden escapees” or weeds. Garden escapees tend to do just as they imply – spreading from within the garden they’re planted in and finding their ways to other areas of native bush, thus diminishing the authenticity of the native environment. There are lot of ornamentals that fall into this category – the main culprits are camphor laurel with berries birds love and drop seeds from, small and large leaf privet and agapanthus.

    When maintaining your bush garden, be aware of the needs of local native fauna prior to making any changes to your native plants. Think of this when pruning, ensuring that you leave enough branches, flowers and pods for native fauna to eat. Our native animals play an important role in our native gardens – the plants provide food for the animals and the animals are responsible for plants’ pollination as they lick the nectar in the flower, pollination then taking place.

    Often shade and darkness is an issue with a canopy of large trees, so a potential improvement to the appearance of your garden may be the introduction of colour so often missing from Australian native environments. Some colourful native plants include Grevillea, a particularly good choice as the ones with red flowers bloom almost all year round. There are also orange and pink varieties.

    Arguably the most important part of an Australian native garden is maintaining authenticity. This means having predominately native plants, which you’ll find are usually much easier to manage than introduced species, as they’re specifically adapted to our environment, and maintaining native species will also improve the overall aesthetics of your garden.

    Use the plants local to the area as they perform better than other introduced species – check out what your neighbours have used, see what you like and then copy that, provided it fits in with your scheme.

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    Jason Cornish is a qualified horticulturalist and licensed structural landscaper who operates Garden Estate Landscaping on the North Shore. wwww.gardenestatelandscaping.com.au

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