By Corinne and Jill Dawson for Our Native Garden Nursery
Our Native Garden is a not-for-profit, volunteer run native plant nursery dedicated to developing balanced ecosystems. As part of the Albury Wodonga Sustainable Living Festival, Our Native Garden Nursery will be hosting a free tour on Sunday 26 November from 11.00am to 12.30pm, where you can learn about native plants and how they can thrive in your garden. See all the features of this unusual nursery and our extensive plantings, right in the middle of Wodonga.
You might even be inspired to buy native plants as Christmas presents.
Native plants are so much more than just an ornamental feature. Consider this: what do a gum tree, the prime minister and a new mother have in common? They all need a support system.
Gum trees are home to hundreds of animals at any one time, from creepy crawlies to birds, butterflies and small mammals like possums and bats. But it takes hundreds of years for a gum tree to reach the stage where it’s big enough, strong enough and has enough hollows to become a habitat – and it’s not simply a case of sticking a sapling in the ground and leaving it. Gum trees depend on nearby plants to keep them healthy so they can grow big and tall. We call this plant support system the understorey.
The understorey is made up of small bushes, ground covers, grasses and flowers. Every aspect of the understorey has a different job to do. Flowers will attract native bees, butterflies and birds while the bushes will provide cover for small animals. Grasses and ground covers provide food for larger mammals like wombats and wallabies as well as a hiding place and habitat for smaller mammals, lizards and some birds.
A gum tree without its understorey will die. It may not be next year or even in 20 years, but in most cases within 100 years. But considering that gums live for hundreds if not thousands of years and take hundreds of years just to reach maturity, when one dies it can have a massive ramification on the ecosystem of that entire area whether that be in a forest, woodland or in the middle of a paddock.
To book for Sunday’s tour, go to the events page on this site: https://www.facebook.com/OurNativeGarden/ or call us on 0418 579 331.