Tam­ing that bush

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

Monthly Chronicle - - Home & Living - Ja­son Cor­nish

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. 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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