Your garden can provide an opportunity to support Australia’s unique plants tailored to our climate, animals and insects. A variety of local plant species are excellent choices for landscaping, which can be used in lots of different styles of garden. Your choice of garden plants connects fragmented and mosaic ecosystems for native birds, animals and beneficial insects to move safely through our ever-expanding urbanised landscape through Bio-links.
What are Native plants?
Native plants refer to any plant species that occurs naturally in Australia. Some examples of this are the Waratah from NSW, Banksias from WA or a Eucalypt from Tasmania.
Just like our introduced species from all over the globe, our native plants have the potential to become a serious environmental weed if planted in an area that is not its natural origin.
What are Indigenous and Endemic plants?
Indigenous plants are the original plants found locally in your region. For example, Eringium ovinum, commonly known as Blue Devil, is a species found in various habitats throughout Victoria.
Endemic plants are very localised plant species that are only found in a specific area. For example, Eucalyptus baueriana subsp. thalassina, commonly known as Werribee blue box, is a subspecies of Victorian blue box. The Werribee blue box is endemic to Werribee.
Indigenous and endemic plant species have evolved and adapted to the conditions within your local environment such as the soil and climate. Your local plant species have evolved side by side with the native wildlife, so by planting a variety of indigenous and endemic plants over native plants creates a variety of food and more diversity in your urban landscape for our native wildlife.
Habitat and Biodiversity
Habitat is the environment where our wildlife naturally occurs and lives. Habitat along our riparian zones or better known as waterways is a great example of how our wildlife can move through relatively freely with greater access to food, shelter and protection against predation. An indigenous garden acts in a similar way.
Biodiversity is a variety of life forms which include plants, animals, insects, micro-organisms and the ecosystem which they are a part of. Biodiversity sustains our natural systems, it provides us with clean water and air, it regulates our local climate, maintains healthy soils and greatly assists our food production. A high diversity of plant species helps improve the chances of local ecosystems surviving and thriving.
A Lot of Australia's native plants invite butterflies into our gardens, the butterflies are on the search for food plants. Butterflies tend to like more open, sunny gardens and they need to be able to find shelter from winds, nectar-rich flowers and if you want butterflies to become permanent residents in your garden they also need suitable plants for their larvae to eat. Butterflies won't just be attracted to any old flowering native, certain plants attract particular butterflies. A great example of this: the Skipper butterflies larvae feed on Lomandra leaves.
Now this is the fun bit if you want to encourage butterflies to live in your garden, you will have to plant a range of indigenous plants to provide nectar for butterflies and indigenous grasses, peas and daisies for the caterpillars. Place sheltered rocks in sunny positions throughout the garden for sun-baking, shallow dishes of water with twigs and rocks in them for the insects and butterflies to land on and drink. On the other hand, butterflies unanimously declared that they don’t like herbicides, pesticides and insecticides. They prefer to let the insects, reptiles, frogs, birds and all the other creatures keep the balance in your garden.
Indigenous plants in your garden
The benefits of establishing indigenous plants in your garden are that they:
Are perfectly suited to your local soil types, climate and greatly reduce the need for the uses of fertilisers
Require little maintenance to keep them looking healthy
Grow quickly and will often flower within the first season of being planted
They have a greater resistance to pests and diseases
Provide shelter and food for your native wildlife
Will save you money, time and water
Give you an opportunity to grow a more sustainable and productive food garden
Reflect your area's natural beauty and character by preserving and enhancing
Having a diverse range of native plants in your garden will ensure you can enjoy the benefits of butterflies all year round.