Backyard bushland

To look after Wolli Creek it’s important that those of us living nearby are bush-friendly. You can grow many of your favourite plants in the garden, as long as you follow a few simple rules. You can also provide some pleasant surroundings and protection in your garden for the birds, lizards, frogs and insects found in the Wolli Valley.

Protecting bushland in urban areas requires only a little bit of effort, but that effort needs to come from a lot of people. Most of this effort is in NOT DOING things! Here are some of the most important ones.

DON’T dump rubbish in the bush

• It’s illegal, dangerous, unsightly and smothers young or small bush plants

• Councils have services to assist you to find the appropriate place for disposal. Contact Rockdale Council on 9562 1666 (6am-8pm), Canterbury Council on 9789 9300 (9am-5pm)

DON’T dump garden materials in the bush

• Whole plants, prunings, grass clippings and soil can all contain seeds, or other parts that can grow. It’s like planting weeds.

• These plants all add extra nutrients that weeds love. Extra nutrients can also kill local native plants, many of which only thrive on lower nutrient soils or can’t compete with the weeds.

Many garden materials can be composted. You can use your local Council’s green waste pick-up or drop-off services. Contact local Councils as above.

DON’T take anything from the bush

• Wood, leaves and rocks are vital habitat for local animals and insects etc.

• Local plants are often rare and may be in danger. Taking bits away, especially flowers or seeds, makes it harder for them to survive.

DON’T grow plants that invade the local bush

  • Lots of exotics don’t invade, whereas some natives do, so choose the right ones for your garden

• Creepers and grasses can spread from gardens adjoining the bush.

• Seeds can be blown in or carried by animal fur and human clothing.

• Fruit-eating and seed-eating birds can spread plants from much further away.

• If you are not sure about your plants, ask the Wolli Creek Preservation Society on 9554 3176 for an expert volunteer to come and help you sort the good from the bad.

But DO grow locally native plants:

• They are well adapted to local conditions and so they don’t need fertilisers or so much watering as non-local plants.

• They help support native birds, lizards, frogs and other animals which all help to control insect and other pest species in your garden, including flies, insects, slugs and snails.

• The Wolli Creek Preservation Society can advise on suitable native plants, as can Marrickville Community Nursery in the Addison Road Community Centre, which is also a good source for them.

And DO go further:

  • Keep an eye out and report anything which shouldn’t be going down street gutters into the stormwater drains – it all ends up in Wolli or Bardwell Creeks, and damages creek plants and wildlife. Remember the drains are only for rain, not car washings, grass clippings, paint residues, litter etc. Contact Rockdale Council on 9562 1666 (6am-8pm), Canterbury Council on 9789 9300 (6am-11pm), to get a message to a ranger.
  • Join your local conservation group.
  • Got a snail problem? Set your garden up for a Blue Tongue lizard, who eats them for breakfast – and lunch and tea. And frogs just love eating grasshoppers. You may well find that your new visitors, particularly the birds, provide so much colour, movement and interest that that will more than repay your efforts in the garden.
  • Your visiting animals will still need good natural areas to retreat to, and in which to build up their numbers, but if you live within five or six hundred metres of Wolli Creek you are lucky enough to have that … at present.
  • The Birds in Backyards website also contains helpful information (complete with pictures) on how to make your garden bird friendly

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