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NormaB
NormaB's picture
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For all the years that we have lived here, our back yard has be devoid of any plant life except grass. This has suited us for various reasons over the years, but now hubby has decided that with age, he should also lose the need to mow grass. So he has decided that we need to plant out the back yard.
With my new camera and new interest in the local birdlife, I say yay and have already spoken up with my desires for the new look. Luckily, because we are not gardeners by nature, he likes the idea of lots of natives that require minimum care once established :-)
So below is our yard as it was this morning.
The back terraced area used to be home to a swing set and a trampoline, but even the youngest hadn't used them for some time, so they have moved on to the grand daughter. Now up there we have a mandarin, an orange and a peach tree. All new about 2 weeks ago. New today up there as well (but after the photos were taken) is a Grevillea Honey Gem in the back corner.
We bought a birdbath and set it up there about a month or so ago, then I found that it would probably be used if it had some sort of protection around it.. those trees will eventually grow so it still may get used (although I have seen the odd dove in it and rosellas on the ground around it).
In front of the rock wall we intend to have a few Callistemon Little John, We put one in the middle today and more will come over time (unfortunately, our budget isn't as large as our yard )
We also added a Lillypilly in front of the garden shed.
Plans for the future also include something (not quite sure what yet) down the fence next to the driveway and beside the house near the driveway (although whatever goes there needs to like shade and damp)
I hope that eventually I will be able to see birds in our yard and not just on the fence or next door.
You'll notice that I have a dog, and I have some worries he might deter birds. He is learning to ignore them though - he just wanders out and looks even when the lorikeets are picking the seeds off the ground. He doesn't bark at them as he used to (I go mad at him whenever he does) although he still persists in barking at an owl that sometimes sits on the clothes line at night and he doesn't like the sulphur crested cockatoo (maybe because it goes off at him when he barks at it)
Norma

ladybird
ladybird's picture

Better late than never I suppose ... perhaps. But why bother now? If you liked the look of that barren misery for years, why not stick with it? What have you suddenly learned to like about plants and birds? And how long will this new-found enthusiasm last?

DenisWilson
DenisWilson's picture

Best of luck with your project, Norma.
I trust that Ladybid had her tongue firmly planted in her cheek. I do hope so. I think this forum works best if we are encouraging towards each other.
Cheers
Denis

NormaB
NormaB's picture

Better late than never I suppose ... perhaps. But why bother now? If you liked the look of that barren misery for years, why not stick with it? What have you suddenly learned to like about plants and birds? And how long will this new-found enthusiasm last?

Well people do have lifestyle changes, sometimes we see things differently as we age and our priorities change (sometimes for the better, sometimes not), we find new interests. Just because we came to these things at a latter stage than others doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue them.

Robdb
Robdb's picture

Hey Norma, why dont you start drawing ideas down on some paper, ie where you would like garden beds, where you want to leave lawn. Then Decide where you would like some large trees, then small trees, then a mix of shrubs then sone ground covers. Try to do this before you go out next to buy your next lot of plants, your right you know you have a great canvas to start a lovely backyard garden. I hope it goes well.

Rob D B

Sarg
Sarg's picture

i've just done a similar thing myself with our front yard. I was all grass with one mock orange. I wanted to keep a small patch of grass near the front door and the rest was ripped up and now one year on going good.

As rob said work out where you want grass and also where you want the larger/smaller trees etc to go. I made mine so that it starts off on the left with ground covers then sweeps across to medium shrubs then across to 4-5 metre trees.

If you hunt around locally there will probably be somewhere you can source natives from a local environment centre otherwise most nurseries sell tube stock plants for $2 or so. Allthough there small they generally grow to be a stronger plant. Also check out your local market's you can usually find bigger plants cheap.

poephila
poephila's picture

Norma, you might like to read my suggestions to deju on "any suggestions about plants". I hope they might apply to you too. Good luck. The dog is an asset: it should keep cats somewhat at bay. By the looks of your place you're probably also in Indian Mynah territory, so watch out for them in your design where possible. Whereabouts are you again? If in Brisbane Brush Turkeys might decide to redo the garden for you so some good wire fencing might come in handy to get the plants over a metre, though maybe the dog will help there too.

Greetings from the northern Southern Tablelands of NSW

NormaB
NormaB's picture

poephilla, I'm in Newcastle. I read you reply to deju, and will keep in mind some of the suggestions when we start putting more plants in. We haven't added much in terms of natives lately (although there has been the addition of a couple of a native fusia - can't remember offhand the right name) because hubby has dug out a large vegi patch in the middle of the yard. As well as making less mowing for him, we have been rewarded with bucket loads of spinach and will soon have some corn and tomatoes coming out of our ears lol.
The plants we have are all starting to do well, we have had a burst of colour on the Callistemon and at one point the peach tree was a mass of blossoms (now it is full of leaves and one solitary peach!) The lillypilly has in the last couple of days come out with some fluffy looking flowers and I see what looks like buds on the fusia.
I've seen more birds actually using the birdbath now, usually magpies and rosellas.
I want to add a bit more colour besides red to the back yard (one of the reasons I picked the Honey Gem Grevillea)and have seen some pretty shrubs with different coloured flowers that I need to keep in mind.
We don't have Indian Mynahs here (well I do see them in the region, but can't recall seeing any in our immediate neighbourhood) We have Noisy Mynahs that love the bottlebrush and Melaleuca in the front yard (I'm pretty sure it's them that nest there) but usual visitors in the back yard are the lorikeets, rosellas and the ever present crested pidgeons. We also get a regular visit from a tawny frogmouth (would he be after the skinks that abound here?) and of late (since there has been a lot of turned over soil in the vegi patch) we have had a few kookaburras feeding on the worms there.

Ade
Ade's picture

Hi Norma, a good place to start for Native plants in Newcastle is TIN (Trees in Newcastle)a local indigenous native nursery. They sell tubestock, so it's cheap and because they source their stock/seed locally you are more likely to attract local birds. Hope that helps. Cheers, Ade

margaret
margaret's picture

Hope your garden's going well Norma. I am going to start a before and after thread. You might like to see the changes in my yard.

Woko
Woko's picture

I'll be interested to see that, margaret.  I note Ade's post on 17/12/2008 about the idea of planting indigenous species to attract local birds. I support that idea. They're more likely to survive, cost less in watering & they provide authenticity to a garden.  Imagine having at least a partial natural ecology in your backyard!

margaret
margaret's picture

Well i went to a nursery yesterday recommended on here and bought lots of grasses and understorey plants. However there is a big old oak tree and that seems to be the favourite of the birds in my backyard.

Woko
Woko's picture

I'm interested in the function(s) your oak plays in the lives of your local birds. What do the birds use the oak tree for, Margaret? Is it for roosting, feeding (if so, on what are they feeding?), perching, socialising or nesting? Do you have other trees in your backyard? If so, why do you think the birds favour the oak?

Woko
Woko's picture

Ooooops!  I forgot to mention, Margaret, that your idea of planting native grasses is excellent, especially if they're local species. (Non local species can become invasive & destroy the natural structure of any nearby natural grasslands. Or even far away natural grasslands since seeds can be transported by birds, water, wind). Local native grasses are a sadly neglected part of native gardens.

margaret
margaret's picture

Woko, I don't know much at all about birds, and after being on here, less than i thought ! however they seem to be socialising and eating insects. I think they use it because it is so big whereas all the other trees are small as yet although I haven't planted anything really big because it is not a big yard. The trees i have planted are all small to medium and are all 3 years or less in age.

Woko
Woko's picture

It'll be interesting to see what happens to the birds' use of the oak as the trees you've planted mature. An interesting project for you if you have the time. You could write a paper & become famous! (If you're not already).

margaret
margaret's picture

Now I have been on here I want to pull out the small Chinese Elm that has been in next to the oak for a few months. I don't want to kill it but I want to convince my neighbour to let me plant it in his yard. I have been trying to exterminate his privett and camphor laurels by regularly drilling holes and putting roundup in them. So far I have killed off some Privett but the Camphor Laurel is resurrecting itself. I do want to colonise his yard! My dog and duck think his yard belongs to them, now all I have to do is convince him to let me take over completely !

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

I wish you very good luck NormaB. I hope you can quickly turn your "barren misery" into a heavenly haven for a host of native birds.  Go crazy on your project. Its never too late. It will give you a new life (as well as sustaining the lives of native birds). Don't worry about the finances. There is usually somebody in the neighbourhood or at local markets who sell cheap tubestock.

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Have just realised NormaB's post is over three years old. Any "after" pictures NormaB?

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