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BattyBabbler's picture

Hi All
I have an 'in transition' garden where I am gradually replacing exotic plants with local natives such as coreas and grevilleas,increasing the density, layers of mulch etc to make it more bird friendly. But I live in an area full of Noisy Miners, so I know it is going to be hard work to get any other birds to come. Especially if my garden is the only one within a sea of agapanthas, azaleas and gardinias, which is what most of the neighbours gardens consist of!

Is anyone else in this position? Has anyone tried to talk to their neighbours about following suit and also adapting their gardens for birds? If so what happened? I would really like to try but feel a bit unsure of their response and whether I have the right to suggest it. Seems a bit pushy - but then we are losing small birds so....??

I would appreciate any comments, thoughts on this...


ScarletRose's picture

Hi Batty Babbler,
I live in a similar situation as you where my neighbours have a small floral set up for a garden.
I give my neighbour a native plant for Christmas every year. We have been neighbours for almost 4 years now and slowly there are more native plants popping up in her garden.
I never gave it much thought to begin with but giving a native plant as a gift is benificial in many ways.
Go for plants that are easy to maintain just as you have mentioned.
It just may do the trick to invite the birds back into you neighbourhood.

Goodluck. ScarletRose.

michaelbaihn's picture

hi batty babbler

i am also in your position
i live in a urban area which is good but i'm
the only one in the street that wants to build a garden for birds.
i have lots of beautiful bird that visit my garden.
but everytime i try to build a bird freindly garden my neighbours always complain i need some help and advice.
thank you

ScarletRose's picture

Hi michaelbaihn,
What are your neighbours complaining about exactly?

Any way, Firstly have a browse through some Gardening and Native Plant books from your town library.
Native plants are perfect for attracting birds to your garden, and they are not as 'ugly' as many people think.
Look at your property and sketch some plans. Think of the views you want to keep, so that you don't bush yourself in. You can also block out your neighbours by planting layers of shrubs like Grevillea, Callistemon, Lilly Pilly, Melaleuca and Westringia. All of these come in many different varieties of size and colour with bird attracting flowers and/or berries, and they are great nesting places for the little birds.
I have learnt what will survive in my garden against the harsh droughts and frosts that we get here. Consider those things when selecting your plants.
Are you on water restrictions? Most Natives are hardy and low water users once established.
After almost 4 years, some of my Natives are taller than me and the birds love it here.

Good luck. ScarletRose.

michaelbaihn's picture

hi scarletrose

my neighbours complain because they reckon that no-one should have a attractive garden and that the neighbourhood should
stay the way it is.i have just borrowed lots of books my local library and i am also on water restrictions.
12:00 today i rang up my local council and they approved my idea so i'm gonna start tomorrow.
anyway with your great advice i bet you have a beautiful backyard/frontyard.
i'm looking forward to talking to you in the future
once again

ScarletRose's picture

Glad to help. Boy Oh Boy! Your neighbours are afraid to step outside and see the beautiful world we live in.
Once you beautify your garden, hopefully your neighbours will start to do the same. Tell them it's called landscaping.
It should add value to your property also. That is something we all love to hear.
That is fantastic to hear about the council, and now you have the books to start studying and planning your new bird-friendly garden.
Also if you are on a budget, hunt around for affordable plants. You may find Native plants at your local markets, for example, I get mine for $3 each in 5cm pots from country markets that are held fortnightly. You can also investigate whether your state has DPI or Department of Primary Industries nurseries, and they will freight your order to you. Search in yellow pages for wholesale native nurseries in your area that sell to the public.

Goodluck, and keep us posted.

spiney's picture

You are to be commended BattyBabbler. Urban gardens are disappearing at a frightening pace as the almighty dollar entices people to sub-divide larger blocks. Urban Habitat is disappearing as a consequnece and all efforts to preserve this vital link to larger areas of intact vegetation are to be applauded.
Correas can be fantastic and so can indigenous grevilleas but bear in mind that many of our amazing indigenous birds feed on seeds and insects too so it is vital that urban gardens provide plants that provide these food sources. Unfortunately Noisy Miners love nectar and can dominate patches of correas and grevillias. As I've mentioned in another thread, layered planting seems to discourage aggressive species such as Noisy Miners i.e. the use of trees, large, medium and small shrubs, grasses and groundcovers in urban gardens rather than trees and lawn. They love areas dominated by trees and open lawns.
The best advice I can give you is to contact your local indigenous plant nursery. Good luck and well done!!!

Birdsong's picture

Re attracting other birds, plenty of water bowls, a mixture of low, medium and high growth, a few grevillias and other native nectar producing plants, plus a variety of fruit whic ripens over an extended period and leave some seed out. the birds will love you. You may not harvest much fruit for yourself but you have a lot of fun watching the birds enjoy it, tomatoes and strawberries are also welcome. You will also find that the red wattlebird loves the agapanthus flowers. Birds are not fussy whether the plant is native or exotic if it has something they like.

Take note of the free plants that come up in your garden, birds tend to leave seeds of what they have eaten, if it is not too ferral, let it grow and they will be back.

bushanwater's picture

Don't forget that very dence foliage is welcomed by a lot of small birds because they can hide and nest in it. Also don't be too generous with leaving out seed, bread and fruit because you can end up with a garden full of pets that depend on you or become a dominant species. Planting/making nesting sites can be a very effective bird attracting strategy.

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