Bird friendly garden

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timrob's picture
Bird friendly garden

Well, after several years of prevaricating we have finally had our pool filled in and are planning to have a bird friendly garden in it's place.  We live in Jindalee, a western suburb of Brisbane, so I seek advice as to what to plant to provide year-round blooms, insects, shelter etc.  

The garden to be is on the northern side of our house so can get very hot - hopefully less so now that the pavers and pool are gone.  We have a couple of native bee hives, and in our next spilt will locate one to the new garden.

We intend to incorporate a bird bath and other bird friendly features.  Any advice on suitable native species and design optimisation will be appreciated.


Tim and Marg

Woko's picture

Great project in the offing, Tim & Marg. But first you need to move this post to Bird Friendly Gardening!

Having done that have you thought about planting species that are indigenous to where you live? Indigenous plants are more likely than anything else to attract the wildlife which lives in & even outside your neighbourhood because the local wildlife is adapted to them. So you'll be recreating what once was. Nifty, huh?

If you opt for this approach, you might find that your local council has a list of indigenous plants & even indigenous plant nurseries.

You may not get blooms all year round. That tends to be a notion relating to gardens more based on introduced plants. These aren't nearly as conducive to Australian wildlife as indigenous gardens.

The next thing to attend to is the structure of your garden. Attention to upper, middle & understories are all important. Many revegetation projects leave it at trees & shrubs but native grasses, lilies & other terrestrial plants play an important part in attracting the life forms that will enhance the chances that native birds will be attracted to your garden. And don't forget to leave an open area if you can because many birds will use these especially if there are fringing shrubs to which they can escape when danger threatens.

If you can discuss your project & its progress with your neighbours they, too, might be inspired to sally forth & do likewise. That way you might eventually have a willdife corridor connecting with the nearest patch of relatively undisturbed bushland. In this respect, take photos & write an article or two on what you're doing & what species are being attracted for the local newspaper. Readers, too, might be inspired to do what you're doing.


timrob, my father inlaw says the best pool is a filled in one. That's a great idea but no way I'm filling in mine.  Sounds like an exciting project you have got there.  Jindalee, you would be in Brisbane BCC.  They will have plant lists as woko mentioned.  Might even have some Habitate Gardens of similar scheme where you are intitled to 20 plants of something when you join.  But get a copy of Mangroves to Mountains, lug it with you when you go plant shopping. Use it as a cross referance for local, not local, or hybrid.   Council nurseries and perhaps bigger comercials have a fair few hybrids.  Yes native, but tinkered with to flower more.  I have found if you are patient, and will have to do a bit more running around, you can come up with a very good 3 layer of vegitation using local natives; that flowers all year in it's various varieties.   The grasses and ground covers are usually very delicate, and need to be bunched more than usual.  A couple plants can look scragly.  Hybrids tend to take popular precidance as they are more showy, dense, and kind of what humans go for easily.  I have found there is a culture of a plant is a plant in the nurseries, so stick to your guns and show them things are a changing.

Paten St nursery The Gap is good, but they too have lots of native plants that are not local. This is where the book is handy, but you can use google and the smart phone as well.   Get a list of Native Plants Qld (the old Society for Growig Australian Plants SGAP) growers.  Email them what you are looking for, or attend one of their sale days.  It's easy to just go down the nursery and buy plants, but takes some effort and home work to build a local natives garden.  You will find some plants you want just don't exist.  If you stick to the mentioned nurseries and suppliers you get the tube stock for $2 a plant.  I have seen the same plant go for $6 to $15 at comercial nursery which puts buidling a garden out of reach for most of us.  

Another good way is to go for a walk with a plant nerd in your local area, and identify what's left of it that could be local.  Take a note pad as the names are long and tricky.  But slowly but surly you too might become a plant nerd.  But that's ok, we need 1000's of them.

Get some pics up, lets have a look at the plan.  There will be something from everyone who coments which you can take something good from.  Well done by the way!   

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

timrob's picture

Thank you for the replies and sound advice.  Still some site works to be completed, but I will post some pics (in the correct forum - sorry) when we are ready  to get started.  We have a very good nursery near us but are willing to travel further afield if necessary.  Sadly neither of us are very creative when it comes to garden design, but we are pretty good at following "instructions" and looking after plants once they go in.

I've ordered "Mangroves to Mountains", and we look forward to using it and other online information in our planning.

Thanks again, the advice and support is very much appreciated.

Tim and Marg

timmo's picture

Great stuff, guys. Sounds like a fun project.

Like you, I struggle a bit with garden design and end up mostly "putting stuff around the edges", which doesn't always make for the best designed/experienced garden.

I would think about about the garden style you want: e.g. naturalistic bush, cottage garden, formal garden, small shrubs, lawn and trees, etc

In any design, it's also worth thinking about micro-climates in your garden - particularly light and shaded areas as well as damp vs drier areas, and choosing appropriate plants for those areas.

As a native plant enthusiast (in both the national and local sense) and member of Native Plants Qld (was SGAP) I can heartily endorse Mangroves to Mountains.

While I tend to focus on growing SEQ natives, I also have many more general natives (Grevilleas, Eremophilas, Callistemons, etc) in the garden as well. I think you should plant a garden as much for you to find enjoyable and interesting as for the birds and wildlife, as otherwise it becomes a chore rather than a joy. That said, there is a massive variety of plant species, types and forms in the SEQ area, that can suit most tastes.


kathiemt's picture

We have a bird friendly garden and are in Victoria. I can tell you, the wattle birds, eastern spinebills, and many other honeyeaters all love grevilleas, callistemons and banksias. Same with bees and butterflies.  I would expect they would grow ok where you are too. Find a local native nursery and I'm sure you'll see first hand what birds hang around there.

Selby, Victoria

timrob's picture

Thanks again for the advice everyone. Site works should be complete tomorrow sometime, and we will have roughly 80m^2 of garden to play with. See you in the correct forum!

Tim and Marg

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