Creating a wildlife oasis
There are many benefits of a garden that draws in native fauna, according to Vivienne Etter, owner of Swiss Rose Garden Nursery in Brookdale, not least because wildlife is nature’s organic pesticide.
“Frogs are good at targeting mosquitoes, birds, such as finches, are wonderful at eating aphids on roses and ladybugs keep roses bug-free, ” she said.
And you don’t need a big plot to create a natural haven for fauna, according to Natalie Vallance, of Muchea Tree Farm.
“Attracting wildlife into the garden can be achieved on a city balcony, in a suburban yard or on a few hectares of semi-rural land, ” she said. As long as there was a long-term source of food, shelter and water, the wildlife would come.
Try these tips for attracting fauna to your garden or outdoor area.
Natives are the best choice when trying to attract birds and fauna, according to Zanthorrea Nursery’s Jackie Hooper.
Flowering plants lured birds and bees looking for nectar, particularly those with bright-coloured blooms of yellow, orange or deep red, she said.
She suggested Banksia prionotes, Grevillea longistyla, Correa mannii and Anigozanthos Big Red as good food sources for birds.
To attract butterflies, Ms Hooper said plants such as Scaevola Mauve Clusters and Kunzea ambigua were good because butterflies were often found on plants with fluffy flowers in blue, mauve, pink, cream and white.
Beauty: Butterflies are often found on plants with fluffy flowers.
“Varieties like Juncus pallidus and Isolepis cernua placed in water, and prickly grevilleas will attract frogs into the garden, ” she said.
Try a variety of nectar-rich and seed-bearing plants to cater for all tastes, she said.
Waldecks’ Hilton Blake said fruit trees attracted wildlife but sharing could be a problem.
“There are many native fruits such as berries, nuts and cones, which the wildlife are welcome to but often fruit trees such as apples, plums, cherries, pears and nectarines need to be protected with netting so you can enjoy the fruits rather than leaving them to our furry and feathered friends, ” he said.
Ms Vallance said shelter from predators and the elements could be provided by planting suitable shrubs and trees, and providing things like nesting boxes, hollow logs or simply empty pots turned on their side.
Plan an array of habitats. “Animals will adapt to many situations, they just need the opportunity, ” she said. “To attract frogs, plan a shaded area for their long-term survival.
“Ficinia nodosa and baumea varieties are fast-growing sedges to plant around your pond, while overhanging thomasias and correas give frogs protection from predators.
Beaut for birds: Try a nesting box or bird house in your garden.
“To attract birds, small birds prefer small bushes so a low-growing understorey is recommended, including Dryandra nivea and Grevillea thelemanniana while Melaleuca fulgens, with multiple branches, provides private nesting areas for offspring. The Grevillea bipinnatifida is one of my favourite bird plants. It is prickly so is a great deterrent to would-be predators.”
To encourage amphibious creatures, which in turn encourages birds as a ready-made food source; low groundcover plants worked well.
“The Grevillea Gingin Gem and crithmifolia are tough and fast growing, while the Rhagodia spinescens and baccata will fall over logs to offer protection.”
Mr Blake said all wildlife needed a steady and safe source of water, whether a birdbath or shallow vessel so birds could perch.
However it was important to consider the water source’s location in the yard. “Birds will not use it if they feel threatened by predators, ” he said. “Situate the water near shrubs or trees to give some privacy and a feeling of protection for the birds.”
Ms Hooper said it was wise to site it away from well-used paths, and to keep it off the ground — “or the birds may become cat food”.
“Prickly plants nearby will also protect little birds”
‘Try a variety of nectar-rich and seed-bearing plants.’
Natalie Vallance suggested placing a lined hanging basket near an existing bird-attracting tree. “The birds may pinch the coconut fibre to create their own nest, or may want to move in to your existing basket, ” she said.
Food for all seasons
George Lullfitz, owner of Lullfitz Nursery in Wanneroo, said selecting a range of plants that would flower across the four seasons would ensure an ongoing source of food for wildlife. Here he shares his favourite blooms for each season.
• Adenanthos sericeus (pencil form)
• Beaufortia Summer Flame
• Eucalyptus synandra
• Adenanthos Coral Carpet groundcover
• Banksia ashbyi Little Carnarvon Candles
• Beaufortia squarrosa
• Conostylis candicans
• Kunzea baxteri
• Grevillea pimeleoides
• Kangaroo paws (all varieties)
• Ricinocarpus tuberculatus (wedding bush)
• Eucalyptus victrix (ghost gum)
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