Our Beeston Street community garden is all about creating habitat for native wildlife and you might be surprised to hear the range of species who will likely be calling the hillside home.
For starters, we’re expecting a few kinds of birds to take up residence, including parrots, cockatoos, kookaburras, curlews and honeyeaters. As well as adding colour and excitement, birds help to pollinate all the plants. Keep an eye out for them in the hallows, branches, logs, leaf litter and native plants.
The garden is also going to be a sanctuary for Native Australian bees. These stingless and solitary creatures are also great for pollination, and also fascinating to observe. We will be relocating two hives – or ‘Air Bee n Bees’ – that originally resided in the school’s Little Farm.
To attract a range of butterflies into the neighbourhood, we’re deliberating planting lots of nectar-giving flowering plants. They can drink from the garden’s puddles and ponds, and find protection from strong winds as bushes and trees grow tall. You just might see them sitting and sunning themselves on a few invitational rocks we’ll be placing, or heading out from a butterfly box to be installed.
As we already know from our vege patch, Ladybirds are big hit with our students. Colourful and lovely to watch, these much-loved insects are a sign of good health in a garden, gobbling up aphids and helping keep disease away from plants. A Ladybird House will give them protection from predatory insects and winter weather.
Microbats are another way of appreciating and learning about the native wildlife, and will form part of the garden’s natural pest management system. Look in the trees for the roosting hub we’ll be building.
Possums also like to nest in boxes because they emulate natural shelters such as tree hollows and gives them security. Our local brushtail possum and sugar gliders might compete for these nooks with the kookaburras and cockatoos however, because they also like these safe spaces. If we are lucky, a ringtail possum might build a “drey”, which is a nest built from sticks.
Adding to all of this wildlife diversity, we’ll fill some raised ponds with native fish species like Pacific Blue Eyes, which don’t consume frog eggs and tadpoles. Frogs and fish can prevent mosquito larvae from hatching, so they form another part of the garden’s pest management system. Above-ground ponds will also discourage invasive cane toads, while making them safer for students too.
And don’t forget to look for lizards! Blue tongues, skinks, water dragons, and other local lizards are fantastic friends in a garden. Skinks eat up insects and their larvae and can take care of unwanted slugs and snails for their dinner. They’ll love our garden’s local native gasses and ground covers, leaf litter cover and rocks, and all the big bits of bark and logs.
Want to help us monitor the site to see just who starts moving in? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be one our wildlife detectives or civil scientists.
Interested in knowing more?
You’ve just read part 4 of our Beeston Street stories. We’ll be keeping you up to date throughout the project, so bookmark our Garden Club page for regular updates. We’ll also publish any new stories in our regular P&C newsletters.