Gone native

FOREIGN plants were never an option for Mt Hawthorn gardeners Lisa Mazzella and Geoff Weekes.

When they moved into their new house they decided to go all native in the garden and, after a once-a-week watering in the first summer, their plants don’t need more watering except in preparation for the occasional scorcher.

Along with being tired of wasting water on plants unsuited to the local climate, Ms Mazzella says the couple wanted a garden that’d attract native birds, bees and butterflies, all of which prefer local plants. Black cockatoos in particular are picky, preferring to chow down on things like hakea.

Ms Mazzella says people wanting to go for a native garden should pick contrasting leaf colours with a mix of greens, greys and blues. Because the plants are often not in flower, you need interesting colour contrasts during the rest of the season.

• Lisa Mazzella, Geoff Weekes and kissy Kelly. Photo by David Bell

• Lisa Mazzella, Geoff Weekes and kissy Kelly. Photo by David Bell

 

Mr Weekes says they went hyper-local, not just choosing native Australian plants, but flora local to the Swan coastal plain.

Last week the Claisebrook Catchment Group picked its design for a gong in the Vincent city council’s garden competition, with the Water Corp pitching in the prize money.

It was a joint first-place award between nearby neighbours Marissa Galvin and Mark Rust, and it’s now inspired a little friendly rivalry around the neighbourhood. Next year’s competition is bound to be fierce.

Now Ms Mazzella, a member of the Transition Town Mount Hawthorn community group, wants to form a native gardeners network. She wants gardeners to be able to give each other tips and support for growing in this area, so other keen green thumbs should get in touch through http://www.ttmthawthorn.org

by DAVID BELL

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