In my garden three years ago there was Agapanthus, Nandina, Elms and seedling Elms (hundreds of them), a Daphne on the north side of the house and a huge Mulberry tree which lost all its leaves in the first summer after we arrived. Then there was more Agapanthus. There were few native birds.
The previous owners told me that nothing grows well in Murrumbateman apart from Agapanthus. Sad. But you can, you really can have a successful garden in our harsh climate and you can do it without emptying the underground water aquifers onto your plants. Not only that you can have a nice garden relatively quickly if you are willing to put in the ground work.
So how can you have success in the garden with natives? Here are the methods I used.
Choose the right natives; frost hardy, drought hardy, heat hardy. Some which will grow fast to create micro climate. Remember that many of our natives, if chosen correctly, have unique coping mechanisms for our particular climate. You can chose colour, texture, leaves, and plants for flowers, there is so much variety.
Chose the right site for each plant. The Daphne (not a native of course) in my garden was planted in full sun. It loves shade and would have given me many more flowers with glorious fragrance had it been planted on the south side of my garden. Other plants will not flower or do well unless planted in the sun.
Do the ground work. Sure natives grow naturally in our area but most often we want a lusher look than can be found in the bush so adding compost and/or improving the soil in other ways prior to planting makes sense.
Build saucers around plants to direct water into the root zone for those first couple of summers and/ or put in a simple irrigation system so that you can water strategically without spending all day at it. Don’t water lightly and often, water deeply so that roots grow deeply, well away from the surface of the soil. This way they are better equipped to keep their roots moist when the soil surface is dry or hot. If you are watering by hand use a bucket or watering can so you know for sure how much each plant has had.
At IDP Nursery we have the know how to help you have success in your garden. We can tell you how to expect your plant to perform. We can help you understand how best to irrigate your plants. And after three years you can have a garden that is starting to look special like mine.