Using Australian native plants for gardening is not a new concept. In fact we have been encouraged by many celebrity gardeners for some 25 years or more to give growing our Aussie natives a go.
Indeed there are some distinct advantages in growing native plants with one of the biggest being their ability to meet the ongoing challenge of watering. Many of our native plants, being already adapted to the often dry conditions of our climate, cope much better during dry periods, especially during time of El Nino droughts. But using native plants in our gardens can offer much more than just water savings.
But, is it as simple as just planting species that are from Australia? Well actually no. Australia is a vast continent with a wide variety of environments and conditions, and our native plant life is equally as diverse as well as highly adapted to where they live. So something that is native to south west Australia is ultimately foreign in eastern New South Wales. In fact, some ‘native’ Australian plants have become environmental weeds outside of their natural range. Cadaghi (Eucalytpus torelliana) and Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) are prime examples of this, as they are native to North Queensland, but serious weeds at southern latitudes.
The solution to this dilemma seems self evident; select plants that are native to your local area! However, accessing this information to date has not been easy for the average urban gardener. There are books that have been published for specific regions; however these are not widely available and in this day and age of modern technology surely there is an easier way.
Well if you are in South East Queensland (and North East New South Wales) we have great news! Natura Pacific and Griffith University are working hard to bring you an easy to use tool for selecting locally native plants for your gardening or landscaping project. GroNATIVE is a new free app that will be available for download from Google Play and The App Store in early 2017. This fantastic new tool will arm you with all of the information you need to get your garden looking fantastic, and full of locally native plants.
GroNATIVE will let you choose whether you want to restore the natural biodiversity to your garden, with species based on the actual vegetation community for your location, or use local natives to create a gardening design style of your choice. You will have some exciting choices to make based on the design you are after! Which style do you want for your garden? Which plants will you choose?
Prepare to be inspired by the diversity of plants available throughout the South East Queensland region. We have selected plants that can be sourced from numerous local native nurseries, especially community native nurseries that propagate plants native to your area.
Look out for more updates on GroNATIVE and start thinking about your garden and how you might incorporate local South East Queensland species into your front and backyards.
We would love to do some before and after stories that show how using GroNATIVE can transform your garden, so if this sounds like something you could get involved with, please let us know.