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Snippets and tips: Bush in the suburbs

Flora for a fauna-friendly Sydney garden

To attract the greatest variety of wildlife to your garden you need to provide a habitat with structural diversity as well as plant diversity. What does this mean? This means that a garden with only trees, shrubs and mown lawns is not very inviting for most small creatures. What you must provide is a well developed shrub and herb layer.

You need to provide an area into which small birds can escape from aggressive bigger birds - this means an impenetrable thicket which offers both refuge and nesting sites. Also you need tufting and clumping plants, climbers, groundcovers and grasses. Finally you need a mulch of twigs and leaves for insects and lizards The presence of permanent water will increase the number of visiting birds.

Get the picture! Lots of layers!

Listed below is just a small selection of native plants to help you get started with turning your garden into a haven for native wildlife. For reasons of ecological integrity remember to plant only native species which occur in your area of Sydney.

Let's start from the ground layer and work up..

Grasses

Themeda australis

Kangaroo grass

a tussock grass, with beautiful bronze highlights, provides seed for birds and butterflies.

Danthonia spp

Wallaby Grasses

provide seeds for birds, attracts butterflies. Some moth larvae feed on the roots

Dichelachne spp

Plume Grasses

butterfly attracting

Microlaena stipoides

Weeping Grass

an excellent habitat plant

The Common Brown Ringlet Butterfly's caterpillars as well as Finches feed on native grasses.

Tufting and clumping plants

Crinum pedunculatum

Swamp Lily, River Lily

the bases of the thick fleshy leaves provide frog habitat

Dianella spp

Flax Lilies

their beautiful blue berries provide fruit for birds, attract butterflies and insects

Gahnia spp

Sword Grass, Saw Sedge

all gahnias are excellent habitat plants

Gahnia sieberiana is the host plant for Sword-grass Brown Butterfly larvae They lay their eggs on the plant, the larvae hatch and feed on the foliage.

Junus spp

Rushes

offer great habitat, attract seed and fruit eating birds and butterflies

Lomandra spp

Mat Rushes

offer refuge & nesting sites. Attract butterflies, insects, seed & fruit eating birds

Climbers

Billardiera scandens

Apple Berry, Dumplings

bird and butterfly attracting. The green fruits are edible on turning purple!

Clematis aristata

Old Man's Beard, Traveller's Joy

very good nesting site for birds and the masses of white flowers attract butterflies and insects

Cissus antarctica

Watervine

offers shelter & nesting sites; birds like its berries; attracts moths and ringtails

Hardenbergia violacea

False Sarsaparilla

attracts seed & fruit eating birds, offers refuge and nesting sites, attracts butterflies, moths, bees and small insects

Kennedia spp

Coral Peas

attract nectar, seed & fruit eating birds, butterflies, moths, small insects and bees

Smilax glyciphylla

Native Sarsaparilla

provides nest making material, birds and possums like its bunches of black berries

Groundcovers

Carpobrotus glaucescens

Pig Face

the purple fruits provide bird food

Centella asiatica

shelter for small lizards

Commelina cyanea

Scurvy Weed

shelter for ground dwelling small lizards and frogs

Correa spp

their tubular flowers are rich in nectar which attract both birds & butterflies

Dampiera (D. stricta, D. purpurea) spp

the insect attracting flowers provide food for small birds

Goodenia spp

the bright yellow flowers attract insects and butterflies which provide food for small birds

Hibbertia (dentata, linearis, scandens) spp

Guinea Flower

offer food for insects, moths, butterflies birds. Native bees collect the pollen to feed baby bees

Scaevola spp

Fan Flowers

butterflies and insects love their nectar supplied over many months of the year

Ferns

Blechnum spp

Water Ferns

shelter many small birds

Cyathea spp

Treefems

native bees nest in the broken trunks

Doodia aspera

Rasp Fern

will mass to form a low thicket offering shelter

Gleichenia spp

Coral Ferns

form thickets providing bird refuge

Pteridium esculentum

Bracken

nesting and shelter for Fairy Wrens, Silvereyes and other small birds

Shrubs

Acacia spp

Wattles

any of the small local wattles provide seed for birds, and nectar for butterflies. The ones with dense foliage give shelter and nesting sites for small birds, attract moths, bees, and ants

Breynia oblongifolia

the fruits resembling tiny apples provide food for birds and butterflies

Bursaria spinosa

Blackthom

great wildlife habitat. Its prickly foliage gives safe refuge. The sweetly scented flowers attract butterflies. It is the host plant for the larvae of many butterflies and in particular the Eltham Copper Butterfly. Double-barred finches feel safe nesting here

Pultenaea spp

Bush-peas

attract native bees, butterflies moth and seed eating birds

Zieria spp

a wide range of butterflies and many small insects visit these plants

Trees

Allocasuarina spp

She-oaks

attract seed and fruit eating birds

Angophora hispida

Dwarf Apple

one of the best plants for attracting a wide range of insects

Banksia spp

very important genus of plants for wildlife being a food source for birds, animals and insects as well as providing nesting sites

Callistemon spp

Bottlebrushes

attract nectar feeding, seed, insect and fruit eating birds plus butterflies and they are pollinated by native bees

Callitrix spp

Cypress Pines

attract insects, birds and butterflies

Eucalyptus spp

all species attract a wide range of wildlife

Grevillea spp

Spider flowers, Toothbrush flowers

attract nectar and insect eating birds and butterflies

Hakea spp

the prickly ones of this genus are great for nesting and refuge

References
Elliot, Rodger ( 1994 ) Attracting wildlife to your garden Thomas C Lothian Pty Ltd., Melbourne
Robinson, Les ( 1991 ) Field Guide to the Native Plants of Sydney Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst
Information provided by ABBR's Newsletter Fauna Corner editor, Danie Ondinea. Many thanks!
Compiled by Lyn Hulme, Friend of Lane Cove National Park Inc. , Bushcare volunteer and member of ABBR

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