Guiding the way to native gardens

Rain or shine, native coastal plants withstand the changing and challenging winter elements, as did a group of dedicated gardeners at a recent two-day workshop conducted  in the Northern Agricultural Region.

The Garden Guides Workshop, hosted by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) over two days, attracted more than 20 community members to sunny Green Head.

Julie Firth with local community members designing a native garden
Julie Firth with local community members designing a native garden.

While the weather was on its best behaviour for the first day of the workshop, the following day’s event, held in Geraldton, featured an  immense storm.

Fortunately that didn’t deter any of the keen gardeners from attending, and a whopping 40 people braved the wind and rain to learn more about planting coastal natives in their gardens.

Presenter Julie Firth, from the Drylands Permaculture Nursery, shared her extensive knowledge on growing native plants in the region, focusing on low maintenance and water-wise ways to set-up a garden and insight on local bush foods.

Julie invited participants to test local soils using a pH indicator illustrating the importance of choosing the right types of native plants that are adapted to specific environmental conditions.

NACC Coastal and Marine Project Officer Vanessa McGuiness said: “Our gardens play an important role in preserving not only the unique coastal plants of our region, but also providing food and habitat for native wildlife, and reducing the spread of invasive weeds.”

With not a cloud in sight on the first day, participants at Green Head enjoyed a field trip to a local garden which featured many natives plants from the region that were flourishing on alkaline soils.

On the second day, as the storm raged on in Geraldton, Julie brightened up the workshop with a large flower – demonstrating how native plants successfully use bees and insects to pollinate.

For more information on planting natives in your garden or finding local native gardens in the NAR for ideas, please check out NACC’s Coastal and Inland Native Garden Guides.

To learn more about the Coastal and Marine Program, please contact Vanessa McGuiness on 9938 0108 or

1 comment

Well done NACC for increasing our knowledge of native plants & the many benefits of increased plantings for all the insects & animals including we mere mortal human’s

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