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How to create a habitat garden

3 Sep, 2020

Did you know September is Biodiversity Month?

To encourage native animals and creatures into your graden, here are some simple steps to follow that will make you and Mother Nature very happy.

Habitat gardening is about creating a beautiful and interesting space that we can enjoy with our family and friends. But it is also an opportunity to win back some space for unique plants and animals that are under a lot of pressure.

Wildlife can bring colour interest and joy to your yard. They can be fantastic to have in your garden as they help control insects, recycle nutrients, pollinate plants and disperse seeds.

So what are the key elements to creating this oasis?

Variety

A key to creating a habitat garden is lots of plants and lots of different layers.

Think about a variety of flowers – honeyeaters love grevilleas, finches eat seed, parrots feed on the flowers and seed of trees. Insects love grasses and daisies and willie wagtails love insects. Consider including plants with different flower sizes, shapes, smells, colour and flowering times throughout the year. Aim to create a mix of trees, shrubs big and small, grasses and groundcovers to support a wide range of wildlife in your own yard.

Add water

A reliable water source, particularly in as the weather warms up, will help attract wildlife to your garden. A shallow birdbath on a pedestal next to a dense or prickly shrub will help protect birds from predators while they bathe and drink. Butterflies love to gather on a wide dish of damp sand or a small puddle in the soil - they take in water and essential minerals from the soil. A shallow dish of water at ground level will provide a much needed drink for echidnas and lizards on a hot day.

Add Rock

Lizards, frogs and insects need the warmth of the sun to function. To encourage skinks and geckos, provide some protected shelters like flat rocks, logs or brick pavers in a sunny spot for them to warm up. Encourage lots of leaf litter and provide mulch where they can hunt for insects and include native tussock grasses, low growing shrubs and creepers for protection.

Add a frog hotel

It's easy to provide accommodation for trees frogs. Arrange three to four random lengths of PVC pipe upright in a bowl or tub that will hold water. Fill in and around the pipes using stones or sand to keep them standing. Fill the bowl with water. Place out of the sun and your hotel is ready for business. Add a water plant if you like, or a solar light to attract insects for your guests to feed on.  Check the water levels regularly and use water that is chlorine free – rain water or stand a bucket of tap water outdoors for a day or two before use.

For more tips and tricks on creating a habitat garden visit sgaonline.org.au