Key for Symbols attracts lizards

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Key for Symbols

attracts lizards

attracts possums

attracts frogs

attracts birds

attracts butter flys/


c r e a t e


Eucalyptus obtusiflora

Port Jackson Mallee

Eucalyptyus haemastoma

Scribbly Gum

Tristaniopsis laurina

Water Gum

Banksia integrifolia

Coast Banksia

Acmena smithii

Lilly Pilly

Callicoma serratifolia

Black Wattle


Hibbertia scandens

Climbing Guinea Flower

Kennedia rubicunda

Dusky Coral Pea

Pandorea pandorana

Wonga Wonga Vine

Hardenbergia violacea

False Sarsaparilla

a wildlife habitat garden

Small Shrubs

Callistemon citrinus

Crimson Bottlebrush

Grevillea speciosa

Red Spider Flower

Melaleuca thymifolia

Thyme Honey Myr tle

Correa alba

White Correa

Westringia fruticosa

Coast Rosemar y

Acacia myr tifolia

Red-stemmed Wattle

Pimelea linifolia

Slender Rice Flower

Melaleuca nodosa

Ball honey Myr tle


Plant a 


of trees, shrubs and groundcover plant species to provide a range of habitat for all seasons.


leaf litter and bark

 to provide habitat for invertebrates and insects and feeding areas for frogs and


Create a 

small pond

 to provide habitat for frogs.

Place a shallow bowl up off the ground, adjacent to shrubs, to provide 


for birds.

Plant local native plant species (

local provenance

) as these will have inherited the attributes that allow them to

survive local weather and soil conditions, and provide the food and shelter that native fauna prefer.


prickly shrubs and dense hedges

 for protection for birds against predators such as cats.



 as shelter for lizards.


rocks and boulders 

for natural crevices to serve as habitat for lizards and frogs and to provide shade and

sun bathing opportunities.

Retain older trees with 


to provide nesting sites for birds and possums.

Install a 

possum or bird-nesting box

 in your larger trees.


depressions and mounds

 in a level garden to provide visual interest and microclimates for growing a

wider variety of plants.

Replace your lawn

 with mulched paths and garden beds or create a native grass or groundcover ‘lawn’.


your garden using either woodchips (available from your local nursery, landscape supply or arborists) or

leaf litter. Mulch will suppress weed growth and retain soil moisture, reducing the need to water.



 leave your 

cat out at night

.  Even a well-fed cat with a bell on its collar can stalk and kill.


 leave you 

pet food bowls

 outside where feral birds, such as Indian Mynas, can feed from them.




 plant species.  Only a few non-native plant species provide the same habitat

opportunities as native plants.



tidy up

 fallen leaves and bark.



remove older trees

 just because they are inconvenient to you.  Think about what else might be relying on

that tree for food or shelter.



neglect nesting boxes

.  Check regularly to ensure non-native birds or European bees have not moved in.

Don’t use 

snail bait

 as this will kill lizards and frogs.  By creating habitat for lizards and frogs this will then deal

with any snail problem.  One mature Blue-tongue Lizard can maintain a snail free average sized domestic





. They will kill beneficial insects and native bees and can build up in the bodies of native

birds that feed on these insects (cats and dogs can become seriously ill if they eat poisoned insects or mice).

Gardens can provide food and shelter, or HABITAT, for native fauna such as birds,

lizards, possums, frogs, butterflies, native bees and insects.  A few small changes in

the way you think about your garden can make all the difference to local species

and give endless pleasure to you and your family as birds, lizards, frogs and insects

move in.

Fauna species have four basic requirements for survival:


• Shelter

Fresh Water

• Nesting Sites

The following guidelines will help you achieve these four basic requirements and

get you well on the way to creating your own ECOSYSTEM.

A small mallee eucalypt found on shallow sandstone

soils.  The bark is shed in long narrow strips to reveal

silvery green trunks.  The leaves are short, thick and

glossy, the creamy white flowers appear in spring to

summer.  An excellent small tree for a residential

garden.  Fast growing.

Height 3m. Width 4m.

White flowers in autumn to spring. A very hardy,

straight trunked tree with smooth pink to grey bark

punctuated with scribbly patterns created by a bark

dwelling insect.  These patterns resemble scribbly

writing and were featured in May Gibbs’ classic stories

of Gumnut Babies.

Height to 15m. Width to 5m.

A small, compact tree with interesting bark and

attractive yellow flowers in summer.   Moderately

hardy and reasonably fast growing.  Found naturally in

creek lines and gullies so is tolerant of damp, shady


Height 4m to 10m. Width to 3m.

A slender tree with attractive foliage with silver

undersides. Young flowers are green, maturing to

cream in autumn and winter.  Very hardy in coastal

conditions and a fast grower particularly in sandy soils.

Prefers a sunny aspect. Very attractive to nectar

feeding birds such as Lorikeets and Honeyeaters.  A

member of the Proteaceae family and is therefore

sensitive to phosphorus.  Use only native plant

fertilisers and avoid exposure to dog faeces.

Height 5m. Width 3m.

Evergreen shrub or tree with small creamy white

flowers in spring followed by cream to crimson berries

in summer to autumn.  Glossy, deep green foliage

which can be pruned to form a hedge.  Moderately

hardy, grows well in shade. A good screening species.

Height to 8m. Width to 5m.

A tall shrub or small tree suitable for shady, damp

positions.  Produces clusters of cream ball-shaped

flowers in spring.  The dark green leaves have an

attractive silvery underside.

Height 4m to 6m. Width to 4m.

This vigorous scrambler prefers to spread across the

ground but produces twining stems that climb

through other plants.  The large bright yellow five

petalled flowers are borne all year round and provide

a bright splash of colour.

This hardy, fast growing vine is tolerant of coastal

positions and is useful on sloping banks as a

groundcover. It will twine through other plants or can

be trained over a structure. It produces many large red

flowers in spring to summer which are followed by

10cm long furry, rust-coloured peas. Its dense foliage

and stems create habitat for small birds.

A vigorous, woody climber which has soft, pendulous

compound leaves. The clusters of tubular flowers are

borne in spring and are usually cream with crimson or

mauve speckled throats. The spent flowers fall to the

ground forming a soft carpet.  This plant is tolerant of

most eastern suburbs soil types provided sufficient

moisture is available.  It prefers a sheltered position.

This attractive twining vine has 10cm long spear-

shaped leaves and bears clusters of purple flowers in

late winter to spring.  It is tolerant of shade, preferring

to twist through other plants, its vibrant flowers

providing a sudden shock of colour amongst the

green.  It is tolerant of most soil types but prefers

deep soil moisture.

Although this species is found throughout the Sydney

coastal district, the local form is particularly attractive.  The

5cm long, grey-green leaves are beautifully offset by the

pendulous red flowers, the size of a child’s hand.  Its

spreading form lends itself for use on slopes or as an

interesting foreground plant in a mixed bed.

Height 0.5m. Width 1m.

A moderately hardy shrub suitable for use in damp

places, bearing clusters of curling, mauve flowers in

spring to summer.  The leaves are blue-green in colour

and 5mm-12mm long. This shrub can be tip-pruned

after flowering to encourage branching.

Height 1m. Width 1m.

This extremely hardy, frontline coastal plant has

attractive grey-green foliage and is tolerant of both

sandy and sandstone soils.  Its four petaled white

flowers appear in autumn to spring.  It responds well to

light tip pruning and is suitable for use as a formal


Height 1.5m. Width 1.5m.

Probably the most commonly used native shrub in public

landscapes, this hardy, fast growing shrub is ideal for

pruning into formal and informal hedges and screens.  Its

small blue-green leaves are salt tolerant, making it ideal

for a coastal garden.  The white flowers are often present

all year round.

Height 1.5m. Width 1.5m.

This small compact shrub is ideal for residential

gardens as it produces abundant, large, pale yellow

flowers in spring and displays attractive bronze new

leaves most of the year. It can be lightly tip pruned to

keep a compact shape.  Prefers rocky sandstone soils

rather than deep sands.  Very hardy and moderately

fast growing.

Height 1m. Width 1m.

This extremely hardy shrub has small, needle-like

leaves which make it a suitable small bird habitat

particularly for protection from cats.  It can be lightly

tip-pruned for an informal hedge.  Its attractive paper

bark and interesting twisted trunk can be exposed by

pruning the lower branches of more mature

specimens or they can be cut at ground level to

produce multiple stems. The perfumed, light yellow,

round clusters of flowers appear in spring.

Height 1.5m. Width 1.5m.

A common, but variable plant in Sydney bushland, this

small, compact shrub is ideal for a sunny spot in a

cottage garden.  The abundant, semi-globular heads of

white flowers are borne mainly through winter and spring

but often flowers can be seen all year round.  To

encourage a thickly leaved specimen tip pruning can be

carried out at any time.  It is fast growing and moderately

hardy but can become leggy after a few years.

Height 0.5m. Width 0.5m.

A very hardy, fast growing shrub with rigid narrow leaves

which smell of lemon when crushed.  The typical brush-

shaped, red flowers appear in both spring and autumn.

The flowers’ nectar is very attractive to honey-eating

birds.  It prefers moist sites but will tolerate drier areas.

Height 1.5m. Width 1.5m.

The eastern suburbs of Sydney once supported a unique variety of native plants which, in turn,

supported a variety of native animals.  With the growth of the urban environment, large areas of

this bushland have been lost along with many of the animals it once supported.  Although this

process cannot be reversed, private gardens can offer important habitat to many of the remaining

native birds and animals.

Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and Botany Bay Councils are committed to preserving and

enhancing the biodiversity of the eastern suburbs and undertake many bush regeneration,

revegetation and habitat corridor projects. The councils of the eastern suburbs have joined together

to produce this brochure to encourage local residents to be part of this restoration project. By

creating your own habitat garden you will contribute to the preservation of our natural heritage.

There are over 500 plant species in the Eastern Suburbs to choose from. This brochure gives

examples of easy to grow, attractive natives that are available from native nurseries. But remember,

if the plant is grown from a local specimen it will have inherited the ability to survive the coastal

conditions and is more likely to survive in your garden. Locally sourced plant stock is referred to as

being of local provenance.  So ask your nursery for details on the origins of the plant.

Photo Credits


Photo Credit

Australian National Botanic Gardens Copyright

Acacia myr tifolia

Denise Greig

Banksia integrifolia

Denise Greig

Eucalyptyus haemastoma

Murray Fagg

Grevillea speciosa

Denise Greig

Melaleuca linariifolia

Denise Greig

Melaleuca thymifolia

Denise Greig

Pandorea Pandorana

Murray Fagg

Themeda triandra

Geoff Manley

Murray Fagg Copyright, ANBG

Acmena smithii

Murray Fagg

Callicoma serratifolia

Murray Fagg

Tristaniopsis laurina

Murray Fagg

Adiantum aethiopicum

Murray Fagg

Isolepis nodosa

Murray Fagg

Dichondra repens

Murray Fagg

Randwick City Council

Banksia ericifolia

Bettina Digby

Leptospermum laevigatum

Bettina Digby

Correa alba

Bettina Digby

Pimelia linifolia

Bettina Digby

Westringia fruticosa

Bettina Digby

Actinotus helianthi

Bettina Digby

Hibbertia scandens

Bettina Digby

Dianella congesta

Bettina Digby


Photo Credit

City of Botany Bay

Banksia serrata

Landscape Officer

Friends of Malabar Headland

Eucalyptus obtusiflora

A Hall

Banksia robur

M Vazey

Callistemon citrinus

M Vazey

Melaleuca nodosa

M Vazey

Carpobrotus glaucescens

M Vazey

Hardenbergia violacea

C Bettington

Kennedia rubicunda

M Vazey

Lomandra longifolia

M Vazey


Photo Credit

Nature Focus, Australian Museum

Frog, Green & Golden Bell

G Little

Possum, Common Brushtail

G B Baker

Lorikeet, Rainbow

John McCann


Photo Credit

Children, Adults

M Brieger


Tony Wilson


Michele Thomas

Large Shrubs

Banksia serrata

Old Man Banksia

Banksia robur

Swamp Banksia

Leptospermum Iaevigatum

Coast Teatree

Melaleuca linariifolia

Snow in Summer

Banksia ericifolia

Heath Banksia




for Sydney’s

Eastern Suburbs


Carpobrotus glaucescens

Pig Face

Isolepis nodosa

Knobby Club-rush

Adiantum aethiopicum

Maidenhair Fern

Dianella congesta

Coastal Flax Lilly

Actinotus helianthi

Flannel Flower

Dichondra repens

Kidney Weed

Themeda triandra

Kangaroo Grass


Field Guide to the Native plants

of Sydney, Les Robinson,

Kangaroo Press, Roseville, 1991.

Native Plants of the Sydney

District, An Identification Guide,

Alan Fairley & Philip Moore,

Kangaroo Press, Roseville, 1989.

Grow What Where in Randwick,

Guy Knox, Sean O’Connell,

Danie Ondinea, Libby

Stenhouse, Randwick City

Council, Randwick, 1993.


Key for Symbols

attracts lizards

attracts possums

attracts frogs

attracts birds


butter flys/insects

Lomandra longifolia

Spiny Headed Mat-rush

handy hints

for growing local native plants

Woollahra Municipal Council

Public Open Space

9391 7000

Waverley Council

Bushcare Projects Coordinator

9369 8041

Randwick City Council

Bushland Management

9399 0683

Noxious Weeds

9399 0686

Randwick Council Community Nursery 9399 0933

City of Botany Bay

Parks Department

9366 3521


Contrar y to popular belief many native plant species

respond to regular pruning.  Pruning emulates the type of

leaf and twig loss many shrub species would have

experienced as they were browsed by kangaroos and

wallabies. The rule of thumb is to prune only green or

current year’s growth.  This will encourage branching and

create a bushier specimen.


One of the main problems associated with the Eastern

Sydney region is the water repellent sandy soils, where the

water beads and rolls along the sur face of the soil.  This

occurs during long periods of dr y weather when the sandy

soil completely dries. To prevent this happening there are

two options;

Firstly, you can mulch around the plants with organic

matter to boost the activity of micro-organisms in the

soil and increase the soil’s water holding capacity.

Mulch the sur face with leaf litter, wood chips or

compost and allow the earth worms to do all the hard

work. This is an excellent way of recycling your garden

waste, improving your plants drought resistance and

inhibiting weeds.

Secondly, you can apply a wetting agent to the soil.

Wetting agents are also known as surfactants and

help water spread more easily through the soil

sur face. A good wetting agent will breakdown the

water repellence of the soil, increase its water holding

capacity and will remain active in the soil for up to a


Be careful not to over water your newly planted

seedlings. Over watering leads to the plant establishing a

shallow root system. This reduces the plant’s ability to

sur vive dry periods and as the plant grows older it will be

susceptible to blowing over in windy conditions.

Choosing species

Choose the plant according to its expected size at

maturity and suitability for the location.

What appears to be a large space may appear very

much smaller with a few plants in it.

Plant tall species to the back and smaller to the front

along fencelines and paths.

Large leaved plants will appear bolder and come

for ward in your design so use them as feature plants

in the foreground.

If you live in a front line coastal environment choose

species which appear to be greyish green in colour.

These species have fine hairs on their leaves and are

able to withstand salt laden winds.

Co-existing with nature

Outdoor living spaces can be accommodated on

patios, decks and in clearings.

Children gain endless pleasure from winding paths

and hidden corners and learn to live with nature.

Traffic and other noises can be disguised with closer,

more natural, soothing sounds such as the wind in

trees, running water or frog calls.

Fruit trees, vegetable and herb gardens can be

incorporated into your native garden design or can be

allocated to one area.


The key to long-term success with your native garden is

thorough preparation. There is no substitute for good

weed control. Carr y out a number of weed control

sessions allowing a few months in between each one to

allow weeds to re-emerge before planting. The simplest

way to convert your garden to natives is to divide it into

sections and just do one section at a time. Alternatively,

remove species you don’t like and replace with suitable

native species, conver ting your garden gradually.


A weed is a plant out of place. Weeds are categorised

as ‘noxious’ or ‘environmental’. Noxious weeds are

those identified by the 

Noxious Weeds Act 1993,

because they pose a problem to human health or the

environment. By law, these must be removed.

Environmental weed species are those that pose a

problem due their invasiveness and/or difficulty to

control. It is best to eradicate these species from your

garden before you start as future control amongst your

growing plants may be time consuming and tedious.

Contact your local council for information on the control

of par ticular species.


Always dig a hole approximately twice the size of the

pot the plant is in.  This ensures that the soil you are

planting into is loosened up for the newly developing

roots of your plant.

You can dig in organic matter to make sandy soils

richer and more water rententive and to make clay

soil more open, however avoid digging organic matter

deeper than 200mm.  Below this depth organic

matter has trouble breaking down and can actually

retard plant growth.

Place the plant level with the existing soil sur face.

Do not have the trunk covered with soil as this may

lead to rot. Do not leave roots exposed as this may

lead to drying out of the root ball.

It is a good idea to build up a raised ring of earth

around the plant using left over soil. This directs

water on to the rootzone when being watered, and

avoids wastage.

Mulching around the base of the plant is an effective

method of reducing water evaporation and helps to

keep the rootzone cool in summer.


If you keep your garden well mulched, weeding can be

kept to a minimum. If weeds are removed before they can

set seed on top of the mulch, many weeds can be totally

eliminated in time. Mulch will also reduce the need for

watering. Mulch can be obtained from your local nurser y,

landscape supplier or arborist and should be spread to a

depth of about 100mm. At this depth it need only be

replaced ever y year or as required. It is impor tant to make

sure mulch does not build up against the plant stem as

this can lead to fungal infection and insect attack.


Local native plants do not require fer tilising as they

have evolved adaptations to extract the nutrients they

need from local soils.  Decaying mulch and leaf litter will

provide most of the required nutrients. An application of

blood and bone in the hole at planting or over the soil

sur face once a year can be beneficial. Use a fer tiliser

specifically designed for use on native plants. Do not

use regular garden fer tilisers as they contain

phosphorus levels that can damage native plants.

A small tree with papery bark and masses of white

flowers over the canopy in summer.  It is attractive to

honey-eating birds and the dense foliage provides

small bird habitat. This fast growing shrub is especially

suitable for damp areas in a sheltered position .

Height 8m. Width 4m.

A hardy frontline coastal shrub which responds well to

a light foliage pruning can also be pruned to create

twisted shapes from its multiple trunks.  It has soft small

grey green leaves and produces abundant white

flowers in spring. It prefers a sunny position in drier

deep sand.

Height to 4m. Width to 4m.

Perhaps the best known of Sydney’s Banksia species with

its gnarled bark, serrated leaves and ‘Big Bad Banksia

Man’ flower spikes.  Soft grey flowers maturing to cream

are produced in summer through to winter. Prefers a

sunny position and is tolerant of coastal conditions.

Height to 4m. Width to 4m.

An upright shrub with large toothed leaves and

bronze new growth that is found naturally in poorly

drained shallow soils overlying rock.  A useful feature

plant which bears grey-green flower spikes in summer

and autumn.

Height to 2m. Width to 1.5m.

A member of the Proteacaea family which bears

large orange cylindrical brush-like flowers in autumn

to winter.  A small leaved hardy shrub, fast growing,

will tolerate damp conditions but prefers a sunny

position. A preferred nesting plant for small native

birds. Sensitive to phosphorus in the soil.

Height to 3m. Width to 3m.

This ground hugging succulent occurs naturally on

coastal sand dunes and rocks near the sea, making it

very salt and heat tolerant.  It has thick, fleshy,

triangular leaves, 4 to 10cm long and bears numerous

large, hot pink to purple, shiny petalled flowers mostly

through spring and summer.  Suitable for hot, dry

exposed areas especially on slopes or where soil

erosion is a problem.  Also useful for creating a cooler

soil environment and microclimate for other shrub


Height 0.1m. Width 3m.

An erect, tufted plant suitable for wet, damp or dry

areas.  Very hardy and fast growing, requiring no

maintenance.  The flowers are a brown, globular

cluster towards the end of the stems.  This plant

gradually expands from rhizomes and therefore

provides good erosion control.  Useful strong

sculptural interest especially if planted en masse.  Can

be cut back to ground level to invigorate growth.

Height 0.7m. Width expanding.

A long-cultivated soft leaved fern, this plant is an ideal

groundcover in shaded or partly shaded damp areas.

It can also be grown in the crevices of rock outcrops or

cliffs.  Although the leaves may die back during

extended periods without water, its hardy rhizomes

remain alive to produce delicate, curled leaf fronds

after the first rain. Susceptible to snails - encourage a

Blue-tongue Lizard for biological control.

Height 0.3m. Width expanding.

A glossy, green tufted plant found in exposed coastal

areas and is very tolerant of salt winds and dry sandy

soils.  Grows well in sunny areas or under trees and

shrubs.  Clumps gradually expand from rhizomes so

useful for filling bare spaces. Produces rich blue

flowers with yellow stamens in spring and summer on a

curved ‘walking stick’ stem, followed by many

succulent blue-purple berries.

Height 0.75m. Width expanding.

A much-loved cut flower, this plant is extremely easy

to grow provided it has a sunny spot with deep soil

moisture. It is a short-lived plant, needing

replacement every couple of years.  Its long, white,

flannel ‘petals’, tipped in green, surround the true

flowers in the centre. The much divided, grey flannel

leaves make this an interesting contrast plant.

Interestingly, this plant is in the same family as carrots

and parsley.

Height 0.3m. Width 0.5m.

A common tufted plant with 1cm wide leaf blades,

frequently used in public landscapes.  It is hardy, fast

growing and adaptable to most conditions.  The local

eastern suburbs coastal form has stiff, grey-green

leaves and is very tolerant of salt winds.  This plant

provides strong vertical interest in a garden and has a

male and female plant, distinguished by their different


Height 1m. Width 1m.

A small creeping herb with kidney-shaped leaves

suitable for use as a lawn substitute requiring no

mowing or as a groundcover between pavers. Small

white flowers appear in spring to summer.  It prefers

semi shaded moist areas but will grow in sandy areas.

Seed can often be obtained from nurseries for sowing

large areas.  Quickly expands from original plant.

Height 5cm. Width expanding.

A widespread species of Australian grass, this tufted

grass has many forms.  The coastal form, tolerant of salt

winds, has a prostrate habit and blue-grey leaves,

making it a very attractive contrast plant.  The most

common form is a light green, upright clump bearing

clusters of rust-coloured spikelets on slender stalks in

spring and summer.  Like most Australian grasses this

species attracts butterflies.  Height  0.3m. Width 0.2m.

Height 0.3m. Width 0.2m.

This brochure has been funded by the Green Web Sydney project,

an initiative of the Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils.

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