Native Approach

Native Approach

We all love the idea of a native garden that actually works. So why don’t we embrace them more readily? After all they are suited to our climate and using them means the soil needs only a small amount of preparation, as opposed to using many exotics. So they should be easily to use…. Though you rarely see one that works well. They are usually patchy, thin and inconsistent in their growth.

I bend the rules a bit, to make certain that the overall feel of the garden remains true to a native garden.

Planting in substantial drifts, I only use hardy, non temperamental plants whether the plants are native or exotic, that cope with our very wet or very dry conditions. There are however, certain elements I add that give the garden an over riding native vibe;

Paving – try and downplay any paving in a native garden. Rustic paving like sandstone flagging is suited away from entry points to the house or I like to use decomposed granite for paths or larger areas and driveways. The combination of sandstone and decomposed granite works well. The decomposed granite is less expensive than paving, and is laid on a compacted road base and needs to be contained by an edging and needs to be topped up every few years.

Trees – I use native tree species in natural groves which reinforces the theme and provides filtered sunlight. It’s important however, to keep the trees thinned out so they retain their natural shape, yet don’t take over the area, and give the area a green scale.

Plant Palette – as I touched on earlier, I use exotics and natives that are hardy yet evoke the native feel; dramatic Gymeas Lilys for provide bold accent; any of the native grasses provide moving texture, like Pennisetum, Poa or Lomandra tanika; I include succulents for form and colour and their ability to blend in smoothly with native plants, like Kalanchoe copper spoons, Kalanchoe baherensis and agave desmettiana; the new varieties of Baeckea provide a shrub-like contrast.

The options are endless, the best way however is to play around with the plants, see what works in your area and add some non native plants that behave like natives.

Share this article
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest

Back to Blog