Cool solutions for shady gardens: Why not plant a rainbow?

IMG_20180918_141720697.jpgWalls, fences, dense trees, high-rise neighbours, eaves, and patios… With the rise in urban living, we’re finding more and more shade encroaching on our gardens. And those gardens are becoming increasingly precious, as pockets of green in an urban landscape.

So what do you do with those dark corners of your block?

Do not despair, there are many native plants that can grow and thrive in shady areas. To prove this, we’ve compiled a rainbow of plants to brighten up the dark. All you need to add is a hammock, and your shady spot will be the ideal summer haven.

 Planting in shade – the basics

  • The deeper and darker your shady spot, the fewer flowers you’ll get. The plants we list in this article are happiest and most colourful in dappled shade, but will tolerate deeper shade.
  • Shaded plants often become ‘leggy’. Regular light pruning will help them to remain compact.
  • If your shade comes from a deciduous tree, the pileup of leaves in autumn can smother plants underneath, as well as provide too much nutrient to a native garden. Regularly rake up the leaves in autumn – you can make leafmould from them for your vegetables!


Our shady rainbow plants

Red- Holly Flame Pea Chorizema ilicifolium

This cheerful pea has yellow/orange and red flowers from July to October. It is low-growing, rarely reaching 0.5 m, and grows well in sand and over limestone. Continue reading

Encouraging life into your garden: planting for black cockatoos

I just had one of those awesome moments, as I watched a black cockatoo drink from my new birdbath for the first time. And I thought I’d share some big tips for getting these wonderful and rare birds into your garden…

First pageHelp save an entire species, and get free help in the garden in exchange? That’s a deal that’s hard to refuse!

We’re talking about the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris). Of the three black cockatoo species in the South-West of Western Australia, Carnaby’s is the most threatened, listed as ‘Endangered’ under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. These cheeky birds, punctuating Perth skies with their raucous ‘wee-lar’ calls during the first half of each year, are up against tough odds. They breed in the wheatbelt, using hollows in mature trees as nests to raise their chicks. In some areas more than 90% of the native vegetation has been cleared. After breeding they return to the coastal plain, where widespread clearing for urban areas and agriculture has caused a dramatic loss of feed habitat.

Numbers of this iconic species have halved since the 1960s, they have vanished from one-third of their former range, and it is thought that most of the birds we see today are too old to breed. Will our children or grandchildren farewell the last of these beautiful birds? Continue reading