Wildflowers: Wildflower Garden

There are many ways to use native plants in your garden. If you already have an established garden you may want to set aside an area for native plants exclusively.

If you would prefer a formal style of garden, you may want to design it with flower and shrub beds set amid lawns.

For a garden totally based on wildflowers and native plants you are aiming for your own little slice of the "bush" with no lawns to take up our precious water resources.

Gardens

Native Garden

PLANNING A NEW GARDEN

The first thing is to draw up a plan of the block, noting the orientation and how this will affect sun and shade areas, and also the prevailing winds. Take note of the type of soil: is it the original topsoil or are there areas of builder's sand left over from construction.

Make provision for utility areas etc. Note where trees will be located, large shrubs, smaller shrubs, low growing plants and any climbers and ground covers.

PLANTS FOR YOUR NEW GARDEN

To avoid costly mistakes it is essential to select plants carefully. First, consider the overall size of your block. It is no use planting Tuart trees on a suburban block - if you live on 5 acres, then larger trees will not be out of place. There are many smaller trees that can be used in the suburbs.

Next, consider plants that are local to your particular area. These should be the basis of your garden as you know they should do well. Little or no soil preparation is needed, they require little or no fertilizer and they are the correct plants for the local insects, animals and birds. They will need very little watering after the first year. They may not be available in nurseries, of course, as nurseries tend to stick to the well-known varieties of wildflowers and native plants.

Getting to know your local wildflower group is a good way of sourcing local wildflowers and plants.

Wildflowers and native plants that are indigenous to the State are also popular. If they have special requirements such as needing summer watering, they can be grouped together in the garden. Also wildflowers and native plants from other parts of Australia can be used to add interest to the garden. It is all a matter of deciding what effect you are after and planning accordingly. Visit local gardens to see what is being grown successfully.

PLANTING YOUR NATIVE GARDEN

We recommend planting your new garden in the autumn. This gives the plants time to settle in before the winter and when spring/summer arrrives, they should make excellent progress. Purchased plants should be fairly small.

Many Western Australian plants have not only small surface roots but deep penetrating roots as well. When local wildflowers or native plants are grown in a pot for any length of time, the strong penetrating roots grow around the pot; when planted in the garden, the roots stay near the surface and the plant needs regular watering and fertilizer for the rest of its life. If a plant is put in the garden when quite small some roots will head straight down towards the water table and others out into the surrounding soil - it will soon become self-sufficient.

AFTER PLANTING

WATERING:

Your new plants will need a little help to get through the first summer. If you wish you can set up a simple reticulation system using trickle irrigation and water about once a week during the hot weather. Don't water every day as this will encourage the roots to stay near the surface. You want to encourage the roots to go deep.

MULCHING:

Mulch should be spread over the entire planted area to a minimum thickness of 50mm. Mulch will help to feed the plants as it breaks down, it will restrict weeds and keep the soil moist. Pruning: Most plants benefit from some sort of trimming. You can take off about one third after flowering each year.

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Do you have a spot in your garden: 

  • Where nothing much will grow?
  • That's near the house and you want it to have flowers most of the year?
  • Where you want it to be quickly covered in flowers?
  • Where you don't want to use a lot of water?
  • Where you wish to encourage local fauna?

Then the thing for you is a Bog Garden

It will quickly become established and we have a large range of suitable native plants in a variety of colours - blue, purple, pink, white, yellow and orange.

Some of the plants propagate very easily and members are welcome to cuttings . Just place them in a pot containing potting mix and sand, keep damp and watch them root. Other plants can be purchased from the Club.

Bog Garden

HOW TO CREATE A BOG GARDEN

First obtain cuttings and root them. Plan the area you wish to use, then (trust me) make it bigger. Dig out the soil to a depth of 9" (23cm) - 12" (30cm).

Line the hole with black building plastic and place a layer of leaves in the bottom. Then refill with the soil; if required, landscape with rocks or logs and put in the plants.

Water well and mulch with either leaves or woodchips. Water sparingly once a week or well once a fortnight and watch it grow. Bore or scheme water seem to work equally well.

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Frog Friendly Garden

Would you like to encourage frogs into your garden? All you have to do is provide the sort of conditions that frogs like. One feature of a frog friendly garden is a pond.

A simple pond is one lined with black plastic. Select an area that has some summer shade. It could be an area that is damp in winter. Make sure there is enough light for algae to grow as this is the main source of food for tadpoles.

The pond plan should have plenty of shallow spots and gently sloping banks. Ideally one part of the pond should be dug to a depth of almost 1m (3') so that the water remains cool even in summer and to allow for some shelter for tadpoles and fish. You will want to consider some local native fish to control mosquito larvae. Western Pygmy Perch is a ideal choice.

Garden Pond Motorbike frogs Motorbike frog

Garden Pond      Motorbike frogs: Litoria moorei

The majority of frog species in WA are winter breeders and they are reliant on an inundated, waterlogged medium during the winter and a dormant summer period where there is a dried out surface and moist underlayer. During the summer these frog species will burrow or take shelter just under the soil surface to take advantage of the cooler soil temperatures. Motorbike frogs start breeding in late spring.

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Acreage Garden

GARDENING ON A LARGER PROPERTY

This can present a challenge as there are all sorts of problems that may have to be overcome such as rabbits, kangaroos that can decimate your plants, soil conditions and large scale weed infestations.

Hover mouse over images for description

AUTUMN 2003

Lake Clifton - Project commenced Autumn 2003 with bobcat used for scalping area to be planted

Simazine was used to spray the rows before planting to prevent weed germination - this lasts for one season

2003 Autumn prior to scalping land for planting 2003 Autumn scalping of rows for planting 2003 Autumn excavating area for pond and bog garden 2003 Autumn rows ready for planting 2003 Autumn Committee MWG planting

AUTUMN 2004

Plants were watered about once a week during the summer. Kangaroos destroyed about 30% of the plants and severely curtailed growth in another 20%.

2004 Autumn one year after planting 2004 Autumn one year after planting 2004 Autumn one year after planting 2004 Autumn one year after planting

AUTUMN 2005

Plants were watered about 3 times during the summer. Kangaroos continued to eat the plants they had targeted the previous year - calothamnuses, grevilleas and narrow-leaved acacias in particular. The remainder of the plants made good growth.

Comparing the photos of the plants around the pond in 2004 and 2005 with photos of the other area - it must be borne in mind that the pond is protected by a 5 foot high fence which successfully excludes kangaroos.

2005 Autumn two years after planting 2005 Autumn two years after planting

A large section of the front of the block surrounding this area was burned by the Lake Clifton Volunteer Fire Brigade in early May. This was mainly intended to get rid of the veldt grass and undergrowth. The extreme heat caused many of the trees to drop some leaves.

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