Wel­come mat

Your doorstep, writes

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - GARDENING - More: Habi­tat by AB Bishop, $39.99 Mur­doch Books

AB sug­gests plant­ing a habi­tat gar­den in lay­ers, which will make for a more beau­ti­ful gar­den while also pro­vid­ing homes for a va­ri­ety of birds and an­i­mals.

“If you’ve got the space you could put in a tall tree such as an­gophora costata (smooth barked ap­ple) which grows to 15 to 25m,” she says. “That’s the most stun­ning tree.

“Then you’d have dif­fer­ent lev­els, so you might then in­clude the banksia roba (swamp banksia) which will get to about two me­tres.

“There are quite a few banksias that suit Syd­ney’s cli­mate such as banksia marginata and banksia in­te­gri­fo­lia, they grow to dif­fer­ent heights — some might be five me­tres.

“Things such as aca­cia long­fo­lia which is Syd­ney golden wat­tle can get to about six me­tres but it’s a nice bushy shrub.

“The flow­ers will at­tract var­i­ous in­sects and then when the pods form they’ll at­tract birds such as lori­keets and other par­rots that use the seed pods.”

Bal­cony beau­ties

At­tract­ing small crea­tures to apart­ment gar­dens on bal­conies may seem chal­leng­ing, but AB says it is still pos­si­ble.

“If you are at­tract­ing in­sects you’re hope­fully go­ing to be at­tract­ing in­sec­tiv­o­rous birds (birds that feed on in­sects, worms and other in­ver­te­brates) — if you’ve got wa­ter,” she says. “De­pend­ing on if you’ve got trees out­side your bal­cony, you’ve got the po­ten­tial of hav­ing tree frogs on your bal­cony.”

Pot­ted gre­vil­leas will also be at­trac­tive to nec­tar feed­ers such as hon­eyeaters.

To fos­ter a habi­tat gar­den, AB ad­vo­cates avoid­ing pes­ti­cides as well as keep­ing cats in­doors, par­tic­u­larly at night.

“Cats kill be­tween five and 30 crit­ters a night and that might be frogs, grasshop­pers, moths, birds and lit­tle ro­dents,” she says.

“At the very least I would say keep your cats in at night.”

The green tree frog likes eat­ing spi­ders, crick­ets and cock­roaches. Its pre­ferred habi­tat is cool damp places but in dry ar­eas it can be found un­der toi­let seats. Pic­ture: Michael Aa­gaard

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