Spring equinox in Australia arrived September 23, 2022. This makes September and October wonderful times to get out of doors and enjoy fresh air, and to get busy on spring garden clean up. This can take many forms.
Spring Garden Clean-Up in Australia
Spring garden clean-up in Australia looks a lot like its northern hemisphere counterpart, except for some key differences. First, spring in Australia occurs in late September and October. Second, not all parts of Australia experience precisely the same weather patterns. The island continent is, after all, a continent. Areas farthest south are the coolest, and those farther north are warmer. Areas at the highest elevations are the coolest, while those closer to sea level are frequently warmer. Australia includes both desert and rain forest. Each sort of ecosystem has its own spring garden requirements. Overall, however, September and October include harvest of winter-grown crops that have taken advantage of cooler weather and greater rainfall that prevail during winter in most parts of Australia.
Plant Local Vegetation
You can help conserve both animal and plants that are native and unique to Australia. It is home to a number of unusual and unique mammals, as well as strange trees, unique flowering plants, and traditionally edible plants. Although there are a variety of causes for disappearing species (Australia seems to be losing one or two mammal species per decade), loss of habitat, climate change, and introduced species of both plant and animal varieties could be helping disturb this regions delicate habitats.
You can do your part in three easy ways.
- Plant native trees and plants in your garden. You don’t have to sacrifice color or appearance when planting items that are native to your area. For example, spring is a good time to add plants such as bottle brush (Callistemon brachyandrus) is perfect for adding a splash of summer color to your garden. A member of the myrtle family, its cylindrical, fluffy blossoms look like bright red bottle brushes – the kind you might use to clean narrow necked bottles in your kitchen.
- Restrain family pets. Cats are charming, delightful creatures that have traveled with humankind all around the world. But when they are released into the environment, especially when protected and encouraged by humans, they can become an ecological disaster for small rodents. Indeed, one of their jobs as a companion animal has been the role of keeping vermin out of storage bins, libraries, and kitchens. Canids can also impact mammal populations. It is thought that dingos were introduced around 3500 years ago, and have had their share of an impact. A more recent import, the English red fox, has also had an impact.
- Control non-native plants. Introduced plants frequently lack the controls to their populations that are present when they are growing in their native location. If they are in a location that the plant finds hospitable, they might spread unchecked, and crowd out native species.
Other Native Plants
Other native plants that might be appropriate for your garden include banksias, grevilleas, and wattles. All will add color to your garden. More importantly, because they are native to Australia, they will help provide food and shelter for birds and animals in the area.
Only Plant from Approve Sources
Of course, as with all native plants in any location, you should only plant items from approved sources. Picking seeds or taking sprouts from public land is never a good idea. More importantly, without proper growing procedures, many native species will fail to thrive. It is worth your while to do it right, and to purchase seeds, seedlings, and established trees from licensed nurseries where the staff can help you start your native garden right.