Open Nature Gardens Weekend program finalised
The program for the Open Nature Gardens Weekend has been finalised with six inspiring nature and wildlife gardens throwing their doors open to the community on Saturday and Sunday, October 15-16.
The gardens include landscaped native gardens, dry gardens, and semi-rural properties to suburban and coastal gardens – something for everyone to gain knowledge and inspiration!
Among the properties on the program for the annual Nature Conservation Margaret River Region event will be the half-acre native garden of author and plant guru Jane Scott, located on a steeply-sloping block with ocean views over Gnarabup. It’s home to an incredible variety of local flowering natives including banksia, correas, eutaxias and grevilleas – and even spider, pink fairy and leopard orchids which are flowering now. Jane and her husband Roger have battled sandy soil, ever-present wind and rabbit predation to create this superb example of a native wildlife garden, with mulched pathways meandering between bush garden areas packed with birdlife. Other features include more than 100 grass trees, with colourful climbers like native wisteria and flame pea. Damaged by the 2011 bushfire that hit Gnarabup, this garden has regenerated remarkably and is a prime example of how species selection can make a property more fire-wise.
Also on the program is Joan Tilburn and Barry Walker’s property on Malley Fowl Way. It’s a native show stopper when it comes to all-year colour and fragrance with flowers and foliage, providing a transition between cultivation and bush, and a home for bandicoots, frogs, spinebills and honeyeaters! The 8-acre property near Redgate Beach is a great example of how to transition from cultivated garden to bushland. And it wisely factors in fire safety and the use of rockeries. Their plant choice is almost entirely based on local native species, with standout features including a mauve/blue garden teeming with insect pollinators and a grevillea/nectar garden beloved by birdlife.
Meanwhile, ticket holders will be dazzled by Supawan and Kirby Franzinelli’s 1.2ha property with a colourful and stunning yet low-maintenance, dry garden on Mentelle Rd at Burnside. Informal plantings around the house are separated by textural poa grass and old fence post borders which create symmetry and continuity, with a formal area around the inviting fire pit and kids’ play equipment. Garden beds were planted sequentially over the four years the family have lived here, so if you’re planning a nature garden you can see the different stages staggered over several years. Challenges included plant predation by kangaroos, rabbits and birds, plus compacted and sandy soil, strong winds and winter flooding, meaning careful selection of plants to cope with both wet and dry seasons.
Also on the program is Brent and Kate Carter’s Witchcliffe garden featuring rockeries, crushed gravel mulch, garden art and bird baths with all-year colour and wildlife habitat, complimenting a herb garden and orchard. Ann Delroy’s Gnarabup superb coastal garden on Reidle Drive. And the fire-wise demonstration garden installed by Nature Conservation at the Wallcliffe Bush Fire Brigade featuring fire-retardant plants and fire-wise design landscape features.
Hosted by Nature Conservation Margaret River Region (NCMRR), it’s the second time the annual event returns after a huge success in the inaugural year last year.
With 70 per cent of land in the Margaret River region privately owned, nature spaces in backyards are becoming increasingly important. These spaces can support wildlife and biodiversity, help cool down our living spaces and by chooses local native species we can reduce our use of water resources. The event is designed to educate and inspire locals on the benefits of planting native species, and give nature a hand in their suburban gardens or on their bush blocks and rural properties.
Tickets are just $15 to attend all gardens, with all money raised going back into nature conservation activities.
“People can tour the gardens, hear about the ways each gardener has incorporated a range of native plants into their garden design as well as a diversity of features which cater to the needs of a variety of wildlife using the space for habitat and humans,” says Peta Lierich, who organised the event and runs NCMRR’s For Nature Landholder Stewardship Program.
“There will also be plenty of resources available, some plant lists and this year many of the plants will be labelled in the gardens, making it easy to note those of interest. There will also be a major door prize! You can visit all six gardens over the weekend, or pick and choose the ones of most interest. Come and get some local, practical and hands-on information and inspiration for your garden.”
The event will go ahead rain, hail or shine. Reserve your tickets at https://events.humanitix.com/open-nature-gardens-weekend or see the Nature Conservation Margaret River Region home page and follow the links.
“As well as coming along to this inspiring weekend, we’re urging people to register with our For Nature Landholder Stewardship Program – registration is free and takes just a couple of minutes. And it comes with benefits like grants for conservation work at your place, free equipment hire, and access to loads of information and workshops to give nature a hand at your place,” Ms Lierich says. See www.natureconservation.org.au/for-nature to join.
The For Nature Landowner Stewardship Program is proudly supported by funding from the West Australian Government’s State Natural Resources Management Program, the Water Corporation and the Shire of Augusta Margaret River.