The Benefits of Gardening with Indigenous Species for First-Time Gardeners
Navigating your way around the many plant species available can be a minefield for the unpracticed gardener. With a plethora of plants to choose from, it’s often difficult to decipher which ones are suited to the inexperienced gardener. Luckily for us, Mother Nature has come to the rescue, taking the guesswork out of gardening. Her answer lies in choosing species that you know suit your climate and area – native and endemic (‘growing in the local area’) species.
From an ecological point of view, using native plants contributes to the environment in many ways, including the health of the soil. Extensive root systems that are suited to their environment mean that indigenous species hold soil, thereby reducing water runoff. They are mostly self-sustaining and encourage wildlife to your garden including beneficial insects, pollinators and native birds. Sustainable landscapes also require less fertiliser and generally make for low-maintenance, hassle-free gardening.
And Of Course, The Plants…
There is a wide variety of native species that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also hardy enough to be “guinea-pigs” for first-time gardeners. Try out a few of these to get your garden going.
NSW Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum): Although Christmas bush can be sluggish to establish, ensuring that there isn’t a lot of root competition will help this evergreen shrub/small tree to become a beautiful focal feature.
Good-bye Neighbour (Acmena smithii minor): As the name suggests, this is a fast growing variety of Lilly Pilly. Ideal for hedging, its white flowers are followed by purple fruit in autumn.
Westringia Jervis Gem: This hardy compact shrub is perfect for exposed areas, as it is wind resistant and grows in most types of soil
Burgundy Queen (Leptospermum scoparium): Burgundy Queen is an attractive tall plant, ideal for background planting.
For first time gardeners, it’s difficult to go wrong when using plants that are suited to your area.