Gardens for Wildlife – News #2

Welcome to Gardens for Wildlife – Newsletter #2

Greetings Gardens for Wildlife Members,
Whilst the amount of rain which fell on local gardens was variable, it’s arrival combined with a few cooler overcast days was a welcome early Xmas present. We can only hope that when the pre-Xmas rush has passed, we can get out into our gardens, catch up with the maintenance (a euphemism for tackling rampant weed growth) and indulge in more interesting projects.

Everyone will have noticed the spectacular flowering of many trees. I have been listening from the house to the hundreds of bees collecting pollen from my Syzygium windbreak. The majority were honey bees but native bees were also present and a diversity of shrubs has encouraged a range of butterfly species to visit.

Dusky honeyeaters discovered the blooms on young conestick plants (Petrophile shirleyae) and have been constant visitors to the remaining blossoms on various bottlebrushes (Melaleuca spp.).

Green wing pigeons are often seen quietly gathering fallen fruit and other titbits from amongst the leaf litter. There’s no doubt that a variety of food sources plus protection from predators will enable the wildlife to make their homes in your garden.

If you are looking for ground level colour, Goodenias and Hibbertias areflowering now, as is Scaevola albida (pictured).

Gardens for Wildlife wish you all a Happy Xmas and time to enjoy getting into the garden with the local wildlife.

-Joan Dillon


by Susie Duncan

As part of Landcare Week, an enthusiastic group attended the recent Gardens for Wildlife habitat workshop in our Maleny backyard. We talked about the importance of retaining branches, logs and litter in some parts of the garden to provide shelter for bandicoots, lizards and frogs. The group was excited to see the amazing diversity of invertebrates living in one small chunk of rotten log. We discussed how important this was for birds and other animals that feed on invertebrates.

In this garden, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos regularly tear open branches of some trees to extract wood boring grubs. The scars were observed on several trees. We discussed the value of certain plants for providing fruit for birds, possums and flying foxes.

And of course there was great interest in the Richmond Birdwing Vines which hosted Birdwing butterflies in the garden for the first time last summer. Providing water, particularly through these dry periods, is very important for birds and other wildlife. You can set up an elevated shallow dish surrounded by sheltering vegetation within view of a window. This can provide great
entertainment – even water dragons sometimes pay a visit. Another important aid for birds is to hang dangly items such as shiny ribbons in front of windows to prevent collisions.

Altogether we had a pleasant morning at the workshop with many ideas shared about creating wildlife habitat.