Create a Spring Meadow at Home

‘Awake!’ Call the birds. ‘Awake!’ Call the frogs. ‘Awake!’ Calls the wind. 

The outside world is awakening from its deep slumber of the cooler months, and while the wind may still be brisk, and the mornings still foggy, the little critters of our backyards and the plants in which they live and feed, are getting busy. And so should you.  

We're presented with increasing sunny days and a motivation and stirring that is shared between the ‘natural’ world and ours. Birds begin their courting rituals and nest building, pollinators are zooming around more frequently, and the frogs are calling louder and in increasing numbers. In all this emerging activity, there is much that we can do to help our stirring friends in creating habitat and increasing food sources in our backyards.  

Here are a few things you can do to share in the readiness for Spring: 

Plant a Meadow Garden 

If your garden is feeling a little bare and in need of some filling out, a meadow garden is just for you. Meadow plants take off in Spring, creating an instant impact garden and increasing biodiversity - and lucky for us (and our local critters), there are many native options! Planting a diverse range of species will strengthen the biodiversity of your garden and soil and create fantastic habitat for small birds and pollinators, as well as creating that gorgeous rainbow of a meadow. Some of our favourites are Isotoma axillaris (Tall Blue Bell), Brachyscome diversifolia (Tall Daisy), Pycnosorus globosus (Billy Buttons), Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife), Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Common Everlasting),  Arthropodium milleflorum (Vanilla Lily), and Bulbine bulbosa (Bulbine Lily).  

The lush, diverse growth of your Meadow Garden and its flowers is sure to put a smile on your face. And whilst it may be tempting to fill a vase with these stunners, be sure to leave them ‘bee’. These flowers will eventually form seeds which are an important food source for our seed-eating feathered friends. So be sure to keep an eye out once the flowers have passed and the tones of your meadow shift, for it shall soon be alive with flitting and chatting ‘granivores’, thankful for the feast you planted them!  

Other native meadow plants include: Xerochysum viscosum (Sticky Everlasting), Leucochysum albicans (Hoary Sunray), Coronidium scorpiodes (Button Everlasting), Brachyscome multifida (Cut-Leaf Daisy), Wahlenbergia stricta (Native Bluebell), Arthropodium strictum (Chocolate Lily), Poa labillardieri (Common Tussock Grass), Rytidiosperma pallidum (Wallaby Grass), Themeda trianda (Kangaroo Grass), and Pelargonium rodneyanum (Magenta Stork’s Bill).  

Mulch, mulch, mulch! 

Mulching may seem like a never-ending chore, but the results and benefits are endless for all areas of the garden. Mulch can act as a thermal layer, allowing our soil to retain moisture and the fleeting heat of sunny days. This may seem like a simple concept, but the biproducts of this process are numerous. The retained heat and moisture in the soil promotes seed germination quicker than that of bare soil. These conditions provide habitat to insects and frogs, increasing our backyard biodiversity and attracting insectivorous birds. Mulch also allows the soil to build up organic matter and sequester carbon, and the beauty of repeated mulching, is that the mulch will continuously break down into plant accessible nutrients (thank-you worms - on that note try using a native organic mulch if you can). The addition of woody material to your garden also increases mycelium, an incredible network of delicate fungal ‘veins’ that often work in symbiosis with plants. And, what’s more, you may even spot some of your local magpies or wrens pinching mulch for their nests! So, remember the incredible power of such a simple process next time you look woefully at your garden fork.  

Bug Hotels 

Bug Hotels have truly made their mark in media, garden centres, schools, and many backyards already. And for great reason. Bug Hotels are a simple and creative way to increase insect habitat and biodiversity in your garden and to get the kids involved! They can be as simple as placing a terracotta pot upside down on a stick, or as intricate as you can imagine - insects are truly incredible guests and can make-do with just about any dry, sheltered space. Creating a bug hotel can be one of the simplest and effective actions you take in tackling a big issue.  

So, can you feel it? Are you ready? Take a moment to get into your garden today to share in the energy of your local birds, frogs, and the change in the wind. It only takes 5 minutes to reconnect with your garden and feel the excitement that beckons growth. It’s worth it. 

Written by Jocelyn Bennett, Student Landscape Designer at STEM Landscape Architecture & Design | | Studio 3, 1/177 Beavers Road, Northcote, 3070, Vic.

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