Many gardeners are unaware that their garden can have
significant negative impacts on the environment due to the use of
fertilisers, chemicals and excessive water in an effort to "beat" the
conditions which in Perth include low-nutrient sandy soils and long dry
summers. Excessive use of nutrients on gardens can leach into groundwater or
wash into stormwater drains, causing eutrophication in receiving waters such
as local lakes and the Swan River.
Some gardeners however are aware of these impacts and
rather than fight against the conditions, work with them by choosing plants which are suited to
Perth's soil and climate while avoiding
chemicals and practices which might harm wildlife.
To recognise such gardens the Claise Brook Catchment
Group sought funding for a separate category in the Town of Vincent Garden
Competition to recognise "Catchment Friendly Gardens".
is a Catchment Friendly Garden?
Catchment Friendly Garden is one that fits in with its environment, it takes
notice of the soil and the climate and uses plants that are well adapted to
the environment, preferably local native species which provide habitat for
all manner of native animals from invertebrates to reptiles and birds.
a garden that is managed in such a way as not to harm the environment. It
follows sustainable fertiliser and watering practices, avoids the use of
harmful chemicals and avoids plants which may escape to become weeds.
for any garden it is well designed to suit the site and the needs of the
A Catchment Friendly Garden has the following features
The garden is
well designed and suits the site and the needs of the landowner. It has
is minimal, appropriate for the soil type. Fertilisers, if used, are not
applied in winter or followed by heavy watering. Fertilisers are not used
until the garden shows signs of yellowing and never used in excess of
recommended application rates. There is a preference for slow release and
phosphate free fertilisers and an awareness that mulch and other “organic”
additives contain nutrients and therefore replace need for fertilising.
Waterwise. It uses minimal watering, with trickle system or hand watering.
There is minimal or no lawn. Plants are chosen appropriate for the site,
and are grouped by water needs. There is an awareness of household water
are suitable for the soil type and climate. Inclusion of WA native plants-
preferably local species- and provision of wildlife habitat is preferred.
There is an absence of environmental weeds, such as freesias and pampas
grass, which can escape to infest adjacent land.
Garden waste is
well managed, with plant cuttings and grass cuttings retained on site for
composting or used as mulch. Catcher is left off mower to retain
phosphorus in the system and reduce the need for external
Nil or low
pesticide and herbicide use. Safe methods of pest control are used such as
wiping off pests, spraying with water jet or tolerating pests.
Click here for our Catchment Friendly
Click here to read about the
Grow Local Plants initiative and
download a Local Plants brochure.
here for a list of nurseries
where you can buy local plants and a list of useful books and websites to visit to learn
more about growing local plants and encouraging wildlife into your garden.
here for all the 2006 winners.
Take a look at the winning gardens in
your area but please do not go onto private property.
^Caroline Cohen: Winner 2006
Gardiner St, East Perth
Caroline's garden takes advantage of
natural springs which fill a pond at the bottom of the garden and nourish a huge flooded gum.
Note: this garden is not visible from the street
Photo courtesy of the Town of Vincent
^Rodney O'Brien: Winner 2005
522 William St, Highgate
It's astonishing how many different plants Rodney manages
to grow in his small front garden.
^Sally Wright: Winner 2004
90 Buxton St, Mount Hawthorn
Although Sally’s garden is small, the native plants and the
insects that live on them attract many birds.
43 Coogee St, Mount Hawthorn
has always been interested in Western Australia’s indigenous plants and has
created a reminder of Perth’s wonderful bushland in his own garden.
^John Seman: Winner 2002
66 Shakespeare St
John believes it is important that Australians devote at
least part of their garden to growing our unique Australian plants.