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Queenscliffe Herald Article - October 2006

Local Plants for Water Saving

Jill Warneke
Swan Bay Environment Association

Since last month’s environment article on saving water the water issue has become even more pressing with the introduction by Barwon Water of Stage 2 restrictions. So it is a good time to re-emphasize the advantages of planting indigenous plants.
By indigenous we mean not just native, but local native – i.e. plants which were in the area when Europeans came to Australia. The Aboriginal population did not make major changes to the environment so what was growing here at the time of settlement had adapted over a long period to the local soils and climate. By planting these type of plants in our gardens we can be sure they will cope better with local conditions, for example with the predicted long hot summer, than introduced or more delicate plants.

And of course by planting local plants we are not only preserving the flora and saving water but also helping to preserve the local fauna. The native birds, insects and mammals have also adapted to local conditions and are often dependent on the local flora. A good example of a local planting aimed at creating an ecosystem to integrate the flora and flora are the Saltmarsh Gardens which can be seen at the Department of Primary Industry in the Narrows on the edge of Swan Bay (the public is welcome to view these by walking along the DPI boardwalk).

Indigenous plants can be purchased at the Queenscliffe Nursery in Nelson Rd. Here local volunteers grow plants for re-vegetation projects, but residents are also welcome to buy plants for their own gardens (for only 50cents each). Plants suitable for our area and available at the Nursery range from ground covers to grasses, climbers, shrubs and trees. Examples are native clematis, correas, poa grasses, wattles, saltbushes, fan flowers, and many more.

The Nursery also has a coloured photo and an established example of almost all the local plants so gardeners can see what the plants will grow into. (The Geelong Botanic Gardens also grows a display area of coastal plants.)

The Nursery is open ( and people are welcome to join our working bees) the third Sunday of each month 10am to 12pm or at other times by arrangement. Enquiries 5258 1716.

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