With water restrictions having been in place in Perth since the summer of 2001, there is an increasing trend to incorporate native plants into garden beds. This is a trend that the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority supports, as it preserves fresh water supplies, celebrates our unique flora and provides resources for the fauna of Perth which manages to survive in urban areas.
The biggest misconception about Australian garden plants is that they have to be treated quite differently from plants from other continents. This idea results in two opposing beliefs - one being that they can be neglected, and the other being they have fussy needs that make them difficult to grow, especially when mixed with exotics. In reality, however, the same general horticultural rules apply to all ornamentals. Every plant, whatever its origins, grows better with a little care and attention, and some plants have slightly different requirements regarding soil and position.
The Backyard Botanicals Garden is a ‘grow-me-at-home’ garden in the Synergy Parkland which demonstrates how easy it is to grow Western Australian native plants. If you would like to create your own native garden or need advice on how to improve your existing one, browse the articles in this section, come along to a free Dig it with Coffee session or contact the Garden Advisory Service.
For further information, please contact the Garden Advisory Service.
Sourcing the plants
Western Australia is fortunate in having several specialist nurseries and garden centres dedicated to Australian and, particularly, Western Australian plants.
These Western Australian native plant notes are kindly provided by the Kings Park Volunteer Master Gardeners and are particularly relevant to the Perth community and their gardening needs.
Many of the species provided here can be viewed in-situ at the Backyard Botanicals Garden or in the Western Australian Botanic Garden.
Grass is arguably the most important vegetation on earth. Where it fails to grow, human population is sparse and economic progress limited. Green grass is a natural air purifier, it helps cool the air and improve the atmosphere. Lawn is also a desirable feature of the home garden that links all aspects of the garden to the home and provides an attractive safe surface for children and pets to play.
The transplant and transportation of the Giant Boab from the Kimberley region into the Western Australian Botanic Garden was one of the Authority's great success stories. The Garden Advisory Service often gets enquiries about transplanting Australian native plants, particularly the Common Grass-tree.
Many native plants adapt well to growing in pots. Plants may be grown singly, or several may be grouped in a larger container to form a mini-garden. They require a free-draining medium with appropriate fertiliser so seek a commercial native potting mix.
Birds add life, colour and sound to a garden and are a joy to watch. They eat many insects, controlling native and introduced pests naturally. Many Australian plants, such as Kangaroo Paws, are bird-pollinated.