In recent years the popularity of Australian plants for domestic gardens has increased dramatically. To a large extent this is due to the increased awareness that ‘growing native’ is environmentally sound practice.
Care should be taken to ensure that plants are chosen for the correct climatic conditions. Australia is a large continent with many climatic and geographic zones, and plants which grow naturally in one zone may not be suited to your corner of North Queensland! There are for instance many hybrid species available, particularly Grevilleas, and the success of these in a particular area will depend to some degree on the suitability of the parent plants to that area.
A full guide to Australian plants and their climatic requirements can be found in “Australian Native Plants” by John W Wrigley and Murray Fagg.
One of the often overlooked advantages of Australian plants is that they naturally blend in with the surrounding flora. If you have existing eucalypts or other trees on your block these can be used as a ideal foundation for further native landscaping.
Birds are attracted to the garden by these plants as they provide natural food and shelter. Many of the nectar producing species such as Grevillea and Callistemons (now Melaleucas) bring large numbers of Honeyeaters and other birds at flowering time. If water can be provided it assists to maintain a permanent population.
Careful selection of plantings can provide numerous styles of garden suitable to North Queensland from dry country species to rainforest plots. Many dry country species are naturally drought resistant and are ideal for planting in conditions where little watering is possible. Dedicated enthusiasts can create rainforest plots by selecting suitable species to survive the generally dry climate of Townsville.