South West gardeners flocked to Bay OK’s Gardening with Wildflowers workshop to meet celebrity gardener Sabrina Hahn and learn how to encourage birds and wildlife into their gardens, improve their soil, and look after the local waterways at the same time. The workshop with Sabrina was presented at the Busselton Wildflower and Environment show organised by the Geographe Community Landcare Nursery.
GeoCatch staff were on hand to share tips and tricks on creating a Bay OK garden with displays on gardening with wildflowers and habitat-friendly gardening. Local business, Soils aint Soils Busselton and Dunsborough provided beautiful examples of the many native plant species available for gardeners.
Gardening with native plants and wildflowers is beneficial for the local environment, helping to reduce fertiliser use, as native plants do not require additional nutrients to grow well in sandy soil. This reduces nutrient run-off into our creeks, rivers, and estuaries.
Workshop participant and local gardener Lisa Wain was in attendance to learn more about improving her garden with native plants. “There are so many inspiring exhibitors at the show, like Johnny the Frog Doctor and Sabrina. Seeing the community come together to learn more about responsible gardening is great. I am sure that many people will leave here and build a frog pond with native rushes and reeds or improve their soil with some of the tips we got from the presenters,” said Lisa.
With the predicted hot, long summer ahead, many homeowners are thinking about the future of their gardens and lawns. Gardening expert Sabrina Hahn discussed that many South West gardeners are turning to waterwise, low-nutrient native gardens as a solution.
“When planning your garden or verge renovation, the most important part is improving your soil, as Busselton soils are very sandy and don’t hold nutrients or water. Use a wetting agent multiple times a year, add clay, some compost and a layer of mulch. Then you can look at layering different height plants to provide animal habitat,” said Sabrina.
GeoCatch has been working with suburban homeowners to convert their lawn verges to native gardens. The Bay OK Gardens’ native verge project provides advice and guidance on removing turf, soil improvement, selecting appropriate species that will survive and thrive, and can help in designing layouts for verge garden renovations.
This spring, GeoCatch and Busselton Water are looking for six neighbours in Busselton to team up to reduce their water bills by turning their lawn verges into waterwise, low nutrient, Bay OK native verge gardens. The Bay OK team will mentor these neighbours in Bay OK gardening, assisting with their plans and ensuring their native verges look wonderful and thrive.
Homeowners who have installed native verge gardens have discovered that native plants are much easier to care for than lawn and introduced plants. West Busselton residents Anne and David Cosgrove turned a corner verge from a thirsty lawn into a beautiful native garden requiring less fertiliser, water and maintenance. “There is still some maintenance required with weeds coming through the mulch, but we have saved much more time on watering and mowing,” said David.
If you and your neighbours would like to sign up for Bay OK’s new native verge garden initiative, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone GeoCatch on 0491 069 078.
This project is supported by funding from Busselton Water’s community partnerships program, in partnership with State government-funded Healthy Estuaries WA and Revitalising Geographe Waterways programs. These State Government initiatives aim to support the long-term health of our south-west waterways.