On the north shore of Sydney we love the bush. But growing a garden even a native one can be a challenge. Competition is intense from the wallabies, bandicoots, rabbits, rats, eastern water dragons, brush turkeys and cockatoos to name a few.
I recently visited a property located on the edge of the bush and learned some valuable tips to get ahead of the competition. In the native garden at the front of the house Melinda found her best strategy was to grow plants that were not appealing to graze on. A hungry wallaby or rabbit can quickly wipe out an entire plant.
She had success with the following plants:
- Tussock Grass Poa labillardieri.
- Cut-leaf mint bush Prostanthera incise.
- Banksia (robur, spinulosa, serrata).
- Epacris which incidentally I found out you can suck the nectar from the bell shaped red flowers.
- Grevilleas (sericea, Orange Marmalade and other hydrids such as Blood Orange and Honeybird Yellow).
- Yellow buttons Chrysocephalum apiculatum.
- Acacia (Little nugget)
- Gymea lilies
- Dodonaea viscosa purpurea and some exotics like ‘snowbells’ bulbs, lavender, purple iris, Daphne odora and Magnolia ‘little gem’.
- Emu bush Eremophila glabra.
- Hardenbergia Hardenbergia violacea
|Tussock Grass Poa labillardieri||Cut-leaf mint bush Prostanthera incisa||Emu bush Eremophila glabra|
|Hardenbergia Hardenbergia violacea|
But Melinda’s real talent was to create a productive veggie garden in her back yard. Detailed instructions on how to build a shade house.
|Artichokes were looking very healthy in the middle of winter in Sydney.||Wombok or Chinese Cabbage.|
|Glass is used to heat up soil to germinate seeds and then removed.||Lemon balm with beetroot seedlings.|
Melinda is keen to make use of the microclimates on her land. A hot dry area became the Mediterranean garden with a lime tree, oregano and tarragon which regrow in summer, pineapple sage, culinary sage, a curry plant Helichrysum italicum, a bay tree, rosemary, thyme and lemon grass. Okay that’s not Mediterranean but it still thrives.
A banana circle doing well under the canopy. Water naturally seeps down the property and a compost is placed in the middle (or a worm farm). This gives plenty of nutrients to the hungry banana trees. A wire fence was required to keep the wallabies at bay.