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Educational Articles

Lawn to native garden

So, the kids have moved out and you want to reduce the amount of lawn around your house or have you moved into a place with an abundance of lawn and little garden? Let’s encourage birds and beautiful native insects into the garden by installing a native garden.

Lawn to native garden

Plants Grow Here - Podcast

Here you can delve into a hidden world of horticultural knowledge with your host Daniel Fuller who is a keen horticulturalist and plant lover. Ben works behind the scenes and comes on to talk about topics he knows from time to time.

Here you can here Ben talking about his favourite topic which is landscaping with native plants.

Plants Grow Here - Podcast

Liquid Wetting agents and other products

Perth has sandy soils and as everyone knows we have long hot summers. As a result, the sandy soils which many lawns are laid on get hydrophobic and do not allow water and nutrients to the root zone. If you aren’t so fortunate to have significant soil preparation under your lawn(at least 5% clay and some compost) and you want a really good lawn then you are going to need to learn about monthly wetting agents and regular fertilising if you want an attractive lawn.

Liquid Wetting agents and other products

What's your favourite type of nozzle?

This is a question I get asked allot and my answer depends on whether you have a mains system or a bore.

What's your favourite type of nozzle?

Edible plants for summer

Now it is warming we need to be planting things in your edible garden that will thrive in the heat. There are a huge number of things you could plant so I will just go through some of the more common summer edible plants to grow in your vegetable garden in Perth.

Edible plants for summer

Turning the reticulation on for summer

It is that time of the year again when most people have switched on their reticulation systems for the summer. But there are now all these new issues that you were not expecting such as blocked nozzles, leaking sprinkler(s) and a solenoid that will not close or will not work at all.

Turning the reticulation on for summer

Verge garden ideas using WA natives

Verge gardening is a great way to encourage nature back into your street and then into your garden. Verge gardens can look amazing and also be your main garden that adds allot of value to your home as some town houses or units don't have a significant garden on their own and the verge can be a much larger area that can be used. There are some guidelines to follow so that all stakeholders can access the space when required. Please contact your council or visit their website to find out the exact guidelines and rules for planting on council land.

Verge garden ideas using WA natives

Top 5 native WA plants for growing in pots

Do you have a small courtyard that is completely paved but would love to still be able to bring in some wildlife in the form of beneficial insects and even birds? What if I told you that if you chose just 5 plants and grew them in large enough pots that this would be possible. A potted courtyard garden is not only practical but also beautiful and can create a small ecosystem that you can pack up and move when you move to a new house. Here are my top 5 native plants that I have had great success with.

Top 5 native WA plants for growing in pots

Something flowering in each month - Sept to Dec

Western Australia’s has a wildflower season which is predominately during the cooler and rainy months from May to September where many plants are flowering at once in particular herbs, annuals, small/medium/large shrubs, ground covers and some trees are all in flower. Many Western Australian trees actually flower in summer such as the well-known tree - Marri – Corymbia calophylla which produces those honkey nuts that some many older people tell me they threw at their siblings as kids. In actual fact there is something that is in flower every month of the year that is suitable for your garden. The below plant list gives you colour every month of the year!!!

Something flowering in each month - Sept to Dec

Something flowering in each month - June to August

Western Australia’s has a wildflower season which is predominately during the cooler and rainy months from May to September where many plants are flowering at once in particular herbs, annuals, small/medium/large shrubs, ground covers and some trees are all in flower. Many Western Australian trees actually flower in summer such as the well-known tree - Marri – Corymbia calophylla which produces those honkey nuts that some many older people tell me they threw at their siblings as kids. In actual fact there is something that is in flower every month of the year that is suitable for your garden. The below plant list gives you colour every month of the year!!!

Something flowering in each month - June to August

Something flowering in each month - March to May

Western Australia’s has a wildflower season which is predominately during the cooler and rainy months from May to September where many plants are flowering at once in particular herbs, annuals, small/medium/large shrubs, ground covers and some trees are all in flower. Many Western Australian trees actually flower in summer such as the well-known tree - Marri – Corymbia calophylla which produces those honkey nuts that some many older people tell me they threw at their siblings as kids. In actual fact there is something that is in flower every month of the year that is suitable for your garden. The below plant list gives you colour every month of the year!!!

Something flowering in each month - March to May

Something flowering in each month - Jan to Feb

Western Australia’s has a wildflower season which is predominately during the cooler and rainy months from May to September where many plants are flowering at once in particular herbs, annuals, small/medium/large shrubs, ground covers and some trees are all in flower. Many Western Australian trees actually flower in summer such as the well-known tree Marri – Corymbia calophylla which produces those "honkey nuts" that some older people tell me they threw at their siblings as kids. In actual fact there is something that is in flower every month of the year that is suitable for your garden. The below plant list gives you colour every month of the year!!!

Something flowering in each month - Jan to Feb

Caterpillars launch their attack on my garden !!!

So whilst recently reading bedtime stories to my child there is one that recently became a reality, a nightmare in fact and it was playing out in my potato patch and there wasn’t just one of these bloody things there were more than I have ever seen in my life in the one backyard!! It almost seemed like all the caterpillars in the area had a meeting and then launched a not so covert operation on my beautiful patch of potatoes. They had a bite of pretty much of everything but thought no we really like potatoes.

Caterpillars launch their attack on my garden !!!

Quandongs - Cracking the code by Richard McDowell - The Native Gardener

The term ‘Bush Tucker’ was undoubtedly made famous by the Bush Tucker Man, Les Hiddins, back in the 1980s. Recently there has been an explosion of interest in the subject in recent times with numerous new Australian edible species becoming available on the retail market, one bush tucker species remains iconic, if not somewhat elusive to growers. Growing across a wide range of southern Australia from inland desert regions to coastal. One of the main issues with the Quandong being commercially available is germination and our author has cracked the code (excuse the pun).

Quandongs - Cracking the code by Richard McDowell - The Native Gardener

Growing natives from cuttings

What is asexual reproduction(cloning)? Where do I start ? How do I start? What species are good for beginners? Which species should I try once I have had success with the easier ones.

Growing natives from cuttings

Easy to grow food plants – just add water

When many people think of growing plants they think large nurseries, growing benches, irrigation systems and greenhouses but what If I told you that many kitchen scraps can be grown in a shallow dish or glass in only water to begin with on your kitchen bench or window sill.

Easy to grow food plants – just add water

Coastal gardens top 20 WA native plants

Many people look at their coastal gardens in despair after many attempts to try different plants most of which have failed or struggled. They want a beautiful thriving garden but have all but given up. I get allot of enquiries about coastal gardens as there are not that many landscapers who can deal with high PH soils and in some cases shallow soils on limestone (Cottesloe). Here is a list of plants which naturally thrive in the most challenging coastal WA soils and if designed nicely will create a garden that your neighbours will be envious of.

Coastal gardens top 20 WA native plants

Buyer beware - Comparing landscaping quotes

So, you have decided to engage professional help with your outdoor space, and you have got a few quotes. So, the next challenge is how do I know which landscape quote is the best for me? You may think I will just choose the cheapest of the three or so quotes surely? There is a timeless saying that “good work isn’t cheap and cheap work isn’t good” and there is allot of truth to this but it’s not even as simple as going for the most expensive quote either because some companies are overpriced.

Buyer beware - Comparing landscaping quotes

Buyer beware – choosing your landscaper and designer

So, you have an outdoor space that is either a sandpit or decades old and dominated by Golden diosma, palm trees and poorly kept Azaleas that were trendy in the 80s. This space needs fixing but where do I start? who can possibly help me with the mammoth task of transforming this mess into a functional space or a beautiful oasis? How much should I pay?

Buyer beware – choosing your landscaper and designer

Colour your garden with natives - top 6 purple flowers

There are a few purple flowered WA native plants that can grow well in your garden. Some are visually striking and will be a feature plant in your garden such as the Native Hibiscus with large purple flowers and attractive foliage. Here are my suggestions:

Colour your garden with natives - top 6 purple flowers

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 white flowers

If you are looking for some beautiful whites in the garden then these tough plants won’t disappoint. They are all used to growing in exposed environments that get hot and dry. Some of these species such Agonis flexuosa have an amazing ability to grow over a wide geographical range and soil types. Here are my top 10 White flowering plants to grow in WA:

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 white flowers

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 orange flowers

Orange is a beautiful colour and I have tried to include plants that only come in orange as there are many plants that have a red and orange form or half orange/half pink for example. I have also excluded hybrid species such as the Federation flame Kangaroo paw this may occur naturally in nature however it has been bred in cultivation by horticulturalists. Here are my top 10 orange flowered plants.

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 orange flowers

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 pink flowers

Would you love pinks in your garden? my favourite plant for having pink en masse throughout the garden is Thryptomene species. These small compact shrubs are covered in a mass of small pink flowers. There are a wide range of pink flowers for most areas of the garden. Here are my top 10 WA pink flowering plants.

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 pink flowers

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 yellow flowers

There is an abundance of yellow flowered plants across many plant families and genera in Western Australia. Many are insect attracting and some are bird attracting or both. There are many to choose from for any area of the garden. Here are my top 10 favourite yellow flowered plants.

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 yellow flowers

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 red flowers

It is not hard to find red flowering plants amongst the vast array of Western Australian plants. Allot of birds are attracted to the colour red and allot of the plants in my top 10 are bird attracting flowers.

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 red flowers

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 blue flowers

For those that want a nice spread of colour or are designing a garden with a colour scheme in mind then here is my top 10 list of tough and reliable plants that have blue flowers. The plants with the most members that have blue flowers belong to the Goodeniace family. These include members mainly from the Dampiera and Scaevola genus. As you can see from the below list 6/10 of my favorite blue flowered WA native plants are from the Goodeniaceae.

Colour your garden with natives - top 10 blue flowers

July - Wildflower gardens are looking amazing

Now is the time to get rid of that struggling lawn that was installed in an area that doesn’t get enough winter sun and ends up being full of weeds and a headache every single year, or conventional predominately European style gardens that are full of exotic plants that in winter look depressing until the weather eventually warms up after many months of dormancy.

July - Wildflower gardens are looking amazing

Food scraps or free food ?

Next time you are eating a piece of fruit or a vegetable have a think about whether you can grow new plants from the food waste. Many plants propagate quite easy from seeds or cuttings/scraps. Did you know that many plants will grow even after composting such as tomatoes and pumpkins with no effort whatsoever?

Food scraps or free food ?

Plant diversity in your garden for better fruit and vegetables

Now you might be wondering what on earth do native plants have to do with the quality of my fruit and vegetables? But it is only when we take a keen eye or magnifying glass or microscope if that is even possible to see what is happening on our edible plants.

Plant diversity in your garden for better fruit and vegetables

Drip irrigation - make every drop count !!!

Do you want to have irrigation that does not end up watering the path or the road when it is windy? Do you want to hand water less often or not at all? Do you want to water a much larger area than your water pressure will allow with a standard irrigation set up?

Drip irrigation - make every drop count !!!

Brighten up that shady area in your garden

With smaller properties and sometimes taller houses and other structures there are more shadows cast over your beloved garden beds especially during winter.Did you realise that many native plants naturally grow in the shade as they are under-storey species of trees and large shrubs ?

Brighten up that shady area in your garden

Native edible plants

There is an abundance of food out there if you know what to look for and you are trained in identifying each plant. Across Australia the food varies allot and some of the nicest native fruits and berries can be found in far northern NSW to far northern QLD.

Native edible plants

Soil Matters - Invest in your $oil

Soil quality is an essential element that will help create a beautiful garden that is far more attractive, healthier and less prone to pests and diseases, much more waterwise as the soil will retain water for longer periods and that water is plant available.

Soil Matters - Invest in your $oil

Professional edging – give your garden the edge

When designing a garden edging is very important from both a visual and practical perspective. Edging will create beautiful lines in your design and give different garden areas definition.

Professional edging – give your garden the edge

Espalier - Create beautiful green walls

Espalier is an ancient technique of controlling woody plant growth to produce fruit. Modern day Espalier utilises a wide range of flowering non edible plants also such as vines, shrubs and trees.

Espalier - Create beautiful green walls

Perth Garden Art featuring Brenton See

Have you got a small garden area surrounded by hard walls or fences?

Perth Garden Art featuring Brenton See

Reticulation mistakes to avoid

1.Incorrect design
2.Incorrect pipe size
3.Installing incorrect pipe under ground
4.Using cheap materials that don’t last or produce quality results
5 Using Cheap controllers that don’t last or have full functions

Reticulation mistakes to avoid

Size doesn’t matter - Growing fruit trees in pots

When you think fruit trees you might be thinking huge trees and large backyards.

Size doesn’t matter - Growing fruit trees in pots

Summer flowering WA natives

Whilst WA natives are renowned for their winter/spring show there are many that will flower in summer and grow happily in your garden.

Summer flowering WA natives

Waterwise irrigation, nozzles and run times

The following link has a wealth of knowledge from some of Perth best in the horticultural industry and explains all you need to know about reticulation and ...

Waterwise irrigation, nozzles and run times

Turf maintenance - DIY Essentials

Perth has a good climate for turf with a long growing season, despite it being hot and dry. There is a short but mild winter in which turf goes semi dormant....

Turf maintenance - DIY Essentials

Water the smart way, save money, time and relax

Have you been frustrated with that old reticulation controller that came with the house you bought recently or many years ago? Is it difficult to program or doesn’t even clearly display information on the screen any longer but you can just operate it?

Water the smart way, save money, time and relax

Small gardens - wow factor

As Perth’s population expands and property sizes decrease the need for a professionally designed green space is more and more important. Ben’s Gardens is working in this space currently....

Small gardens - wow factor

Getting your garden ready for spring

With spring just days away there is plenty to do to get the garden ready for the warmer months.

Getting your garden ready for spring

Fragrant & Beautiful WA Native Gardens

Western Australian plants are becoming more and more popular in gardens not just in Western Australia but on the East Coast as far down as Tasmania.

Fragrant & Beautiful WA Native Gardens

Why You Should Plant Now

Western Australian plants are becoming more and more popular in gardens not just in Western Australia but on the East Coast as far down as Tasmania....

Why You Should Plant Now

Beautiful waterwise native plants

Here’s a list of beautiful native WA plants that can survive without retic, or on a tiny fraction of the water compared to lawn or traditional garden thrive through the hottest months.

Beautiful waterwise native plants

Gardens that thrive in the heat

The main factors of a thriving summer garden are plant selection, planting time, plant location, soil preparation, irrigation, mulch and specific summer maintenance or what I call TLC.

Gardens that thrive in the heat

Native Shade Gardens

Native plants are well known as sun-loving which is true generally. There are however many species that naturally grow as understorey species and can take quite a lot of shade and still flower.

Native Shade Gardens

Intelligent irrigation

It is an exciting time in the reticulation industry with the emergence of many brands of smart controllers now on the market.

Intelligent irrigation

It's a natural spectacle - awakening of the humble native bee

Whilst other native animals like Honeyeaters are active all throughout winter there is one important little guy who has spent most of the winter months in a cosy little nest. As the title suggests I am referring to native bees.

It's a natural spectacle - awakening of the humble native bee