This is the Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park story of planting a nature space for children. Western Australian plants are our greatest love in Kings Park. We refer to the plants here as ‘living collections’: carefully selected and protected for their cultural and botanical significance. A good living collection will tell a story and create a sense of place. The plants in Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park have been chosen to reflect the unique Western Australian bush landscape – a harsh yet fragile environment, worthy of conservation. What story can you tell with plants to reflect your special place? Here is our advice.
- Create your vision
- Consider the kind of landscape you want to create. How groomed or wild it will be? Will you use formal garden beds or more natural groupings of plants? Does it include turf or paving, and do you want to plant for a specific purpose (eg for shade or to attract birds)?
- Reality check
- Assess what resources and maintenance will be required to establish the plants and then maintain and irrigate them for the long term. Are you able to invest what’s required to match your vision? Seek professional horticultural advice.
- Survey your site
- Carefully select and survey your site. Use the existing landscape to your advantage. If your site includes mature trees and plants, plan how you will build around them without compromising their future. Leave enough living space for them to thrive and avoid disturbing roots. Seek professional arboriculture advice.
- Choose plants wisely
- Select plants to suit your local environment and story. Be practical about plant choices and seek advice if you need it. Choose species for their interesting features like fruits, flowers, foliage and form for a rich experience and educational value. Top tip: the Kings Park Volunteer Master Gardeners provide a free garden advisory service to the community on (08) 9480 3672.
- Protect some zones
- Make spaces in your design where plants can grow without being impacted by play. These protected areas are the best home for long-lived, high value plants. Plants that are hardy, proven performers are best able to cope with busy play areas.
- Value the environment
- Minimise your impact on the local environment and create habitats that will add value to your surrounding neighbours and bushland areas.
Practical tips for a WA native garden
- Choose or prepare the space so it is free of weeds, well drained and does not have high levels of phosphorous from past fertiliser use.
- Install an efficient watering system such as trickle irrigation.
- Ideally plant during rainy periods from autumn to early spring.
- Apply a slow release fertiliser suitable for Australian plants at planting time and yearly (if required) for optimal plant growth.
- Mulch up to 50mm deep, whilst keeping mulch away from the base of plants.
- Seek help from a qualified aborist to assess risks (present and future) to the existing or new trees in the space.
- Keep the garden free of weeds to make space and nutrients available to your plants.
- Prune young plants regularly and lightly to develop good form.
- Prune established plants after flowering.
- Replace your plants when they start to decline.
Learn more in our Gardening Resources section.