In the Green Room | Natural beauties

Perfect timing: Recent rains have made the soil ideal for planting native seedlings, allowing them to establish their roots before summer hits. Photo: Marta Pascual Juanola.

Perfect timing: Recent rains have made the soil ideal for planting native seedlings, allowing them to establish their roots before summer hits. Photo: Marta Pascual Juanola.

Peel’s conservationists- Men of the Trees, the Mandurah Wildlife Centre, the Mandurah Council, Coastcare- are very busy at this time of year, frantically planting natives around the region.

“This is the right time to be planting, when the soil’s all nice and damp and receptive, and the roots can get established,” Men of the Trees volunteer Helen Cox said as she helped St Damien’s college cover the sand dunes near their school with coastal seedlings.

She said the cool weather and rain allowed the plants to grow and prepare themselves for the heat of summer. 

Natives have been growing in popularity as suburban Australians embrace their natural beauty in lieu of European classics, and look for low-maintenance, water-wise solutions to their busy lifestyles..

Why not try out some of these natural beauties in your garden?

Not only will they take care of themselves once they’re established, but they’ll also take care of our precious native wildlife, which is especially important as our suburbs sprawl out in every direction.

Coastal Charm

Taking inspiration from our local sand dunes, gardeners can recreate a beachy feel using the many contrasting shades of native foliage available.

Layer the silvery shades of Olearia axillaris, Westingia varieties and Atriplex isatidea with the lush green of Scaevola crassifolia, and the vibrancy of prostrate Acacia varieties and one of my favorites, Conostylis candicans.

Bird-lovers

If you live near the estuary, you may want to take your avian neighbours into account.

Birds are particularly attracted to flowering species, including Callistemon and Banksia varieties, Grevillea species bipinnatifida, banksii, lanigera, olivacea and thelemanniana, and the ever-popular Hakea species laurina, bucculenta and multilineata.

Creepy crawlies

Western Australia is home to over 400 reptile species and countless invertebrates.

Native climbing plants can be used as ground-cover, which provides essential protection for creatures that move across the ground, from their natural and introduced predators.

My favorite native climbing species are Harbenbergia violacea or comptoniana, with their beautiful purple sprays, Hibbertia scandens with its vibrant yellow blooms, or the succulent coastal pigface, Carpobrotus glaucescens.

These plants can wind along the ground to cover large patches of dirt, or up trees or fences.