Gardens for Wildlife – Open native garden trail success!

Over the weekend of the weekend of the 17-18th of September, we hosted our inaugural Gardens for Wildlife Open Native Garden Trail where we were joined by a number of our members to explore a diversity of local native gardens which have been created by fellow Gardens for Wildlife members.

These members generously opened their gates to their gardens to showcasing their evolving native gardens for wildlife via an intimate guided tour. 

Participants heard about the ways in which each member has incorporated a range of native plants into their garden design as well as a diversity of features which cater to the needs of local wildlife using the space for habitat (including the humans!).

Cam became the bus driver for the weekend, transporting attendees from garden to garden, and we had a fabulous time getting to know each other and learning more about the joys and challenges of native gardening.

The Program

Saturday 17th September

A botanical wonderland – Hunchy, with Joan Dillon 

Joan’s garden commenced on a neglected paddock, part of a former dairy farm. It grew in stages as weeds and exotic grasses were removed and has changed considerably over time. The focus has always been on attracting wildlife so has been planted to achieve layers from groundcovers up to taller trees, now a mature part of the revegetation program. The most recent project involved removal of a lawn, AKA mown pasture, and planting low, mostly flowering shrubs in its place using three grass trees as the focal point. It has been experimental with some plant choices not surviving prolonged wet weather and others doing unexpectedly well. Another area has proved ideal for orchids and some parts are designated ‘habitat’ and left alone. Plenty of learnings along the way were shared.

Hinterland meets the coast – Reesville, with Mandy Lupton

Previously dominated by exotic grass, Mandy has transformed areas of her property into a coastal-inspired wonderland of native species. Inspired by coastal heath in Kathleen McArthur reserve at Currimundi, and the use of grasses by landscape designer Piet Oudolf, Mandy has designed a garden that has allowed her to maintain the views of the rolling green hills while creating habitat for local native wildlife.

You can read more about Mandy’s garden below.

Rainforest and stepping stones – Maleny, with Frances Harper

Frances started her garden during the covid lockdown, and it is a good example of how fast our gardens grow when the weather is favourable. She has aimed to create a layered garden, with dense planting to provide good habitat and minimise weed issues. The site is very steep and she has used a variety of retaining walls and stone paths to make the site accessible, easier to manage, and has created a variety of different nooks and crannies to sit and enjoy the peace and beauty of nature. 

You can read more about Frances’ garden below.

Sunday 18th September

Biodiversity with passion and purpose – North Maleny, Fiona McGill 

Fiona and Richard built a ‘sustainable’ off-grid house on their ½ hectare property about 5 years ago. The garden is a mixture of garden and bush regrowth and they have used several strategies for welcoming and accommodating wildlife, trialling different zones with different functions with lots of learnings along the way. With more work to do, these committed gardeners for wildlife were keen to show everyone their work in progress!

Wetland wandering, Witta with Bob Vincent

Bob and Pamela have attempted “patience and evolution”; rather than “imposition” in their approach to ownership of a 5ha paddock of ex-dairy pasture. Bob looks upon his land management as a shared response with nature, recognising existing site specific processes and the physical landscape. Beginning with only a few trees; the natural fall lines and gullies have been targeted as areas of regeneration. Habitat corridors interconnecting across the land and tying into adjoining properties have been established and are ongoing. A network of vegetative infrastructure has been created. As the natural evolution continues, Bob is embarking on another long-term connection by slowly recreating broad areas of self-regenerating native grassland as an understory to the emerging canopies. A broad cross section of wildlife have reconnected with the land and are expanding in numbers and variety!

2023 Open Native Garden Trail Program

Our Gardens for Wildlife Open Native Garden Trail will now be an annual feature on the Barung Calendar. If you would like to showcase your garden as part of next year’s program, please contact Megan at

This project is being delivered as part of Barung Landcare’s Gardens for Wildlife program which is proudly supported by Sunshine Coast Council’s grants program.