Local homeowners are encouraging birds and wildlife into their gardens by planting native wildflowers after attending a workshop held at the ArtGeo Cultural Complex. As part of the WA Wildflower and Environment Show, gardening guru Chris Ferreira and wildflower whiz Dr. Eddy Wajon presented a fascinating insight into growing WA wildflowers, turning 70 gardeners into urban conservationists.
Hosted by GeoCatch’s Bay OK Gardens project, participants learned how to provide for animals and insects by creating habitat corridors and refuges in their backyards. Topics covered how to select local plant species based on conditions specific to soil type, design elements of native gardens, and what is needed to create a garden that is waterwise and climate-resilient.
Gardening with native plants and wildflowers is beneficial for the local environment as it helps reduce fertilizer use as native plants do not require the addition of nutrients to grow well in sandy soil. This in turn reduces nutrient run-off into our creeks, rivers, and estuaries. Workshop participant and local gardener Claire Macleay said “I now know that developing a wildflower, wildlife-friendly and waterwise garden is not that hard! This was my first ever Bay Ok Gardens workshop and I realise I can do more to improve my soil before planting, and plant more natives in my garden”.
Wandering wildlife can span numerous property boundaries in their home territories, so the interconnectivity of urban gardens is important for species such as the critically endangered western ringtail possum. GeoCatch’s Western Ringtail Possum Project Officer, Nicole Lincoln, took the stage during the workshop to share tips on how to live with possums in your garden. Possum bridges, fencing solutions, and possum boxes donated by Busselton Men’s Shed were on display and attracted attention from participants keen to keep possums safe from harm.
“With presentations, displays of wildflowers from home gardens, wildflower artisans and photography, this event can grow and put Busselton firmly on the Wildflower season map” said Lisa Massey, GeoCatch’s Bay OK Gardens officer.
All the plants featured were provided by and are available for sale at the Geographe Community Landcare Nursery. The nursery is also a great resource for gardeners looking for advice on garden design and plants that will thrive in our soils.
The Bay OK Gardens project regularly holds garden workshops to promote garden actions that protect Geographe Bay and the waterways and tributaries that flow into it. Keep a watch in the local media and on geocatch.asn.au for event announcements and more information on Bay OK gardening.
This project is delivered by GeoCatch, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, in partnership with South West Catchments Council. This project is also part of Healthy Estuaries WA and Revitalising Geographe Waterways. These State Government initiatives aim to support the long-term health of our south-west waterways.