Waterwise Gardening

Here is April’s entry from the vault, a reprinted article from Aussie Green Thumb back in 2007.

Water Wise Gardening

With water being a very precious resource in Australia, people need to become increasingly aware of just how much water their garden is using and how much they need to survive. Australian dams are running close to all-time lows. It is pivotal that people take water needs into account when planning and maintaining any garden.

Ever since settlement, Australian gardens have been filled with European plants such as roses. As much as I like roses and as much as surveys show that about 42% of Australians like the idea of growing roses , they are not the most water wise plants. Roses, like grass, take a lot of water to survive because they come from climates where water was rarely scarce. Ever since settlement Australians have tried to re-create British Cottage gardens in Australia. While this can still be achieved in a water wise manner, at AussieGreenThumb.com I like to support another way.

Australian native plants are fantastic. Being native they are perfectly suited to the Australian climate. Now, not all plants are native to every part of Australia with some plants being more suited to specific parts of Australia. Take the Boronia for example. It’s best growing location is South Western Australia because it does like a little more water and a cooler climate than some other natives. The Sturt Desert Pea however prefers more arid areas and, when cultivated carefully, can survive in very harsh conditions with very little water. This is why it is important, when considering planting native Australian plants, to discover which plants are from your particular area.

One myth that I do want to bust right now is that Australian native plants don’t need watering at all. This is not true, especially when they are first planted. Like any plant really, Australian natives can take some time to become established. While it is true that, once established, they can take FAR less watering, they still require water every few days. However Australian natives generally will survive periods without water better than European plants. Equally so, planting natives from your area works best with this scenario. When first planted, make sure Australian natives get plenty of water so as to establish themselves quickly.

Finally, in most states in Australia there are restrictions on when and how you can utilise reticulation systems. Make sure that you check with you local water authority on the current situation for your state. The fines for being caught out are quite significant and there are very good reasons for limiting the use of water during peak usage times!