This Sunday is National Tree Day, and as it looks like it will be another glorious winter day, why not go outside and enjoy the trees, parks and green spaces in the neighbourhood.
While you’re there, maybe you could join with a local tree-planting group, pick up a free giveaway seedling or learn about native landscapes at a workshop. These are just some of the activities offered at various locations around the country, by groups ranging from schools, councils, or sports clubs to bush-care enthusiasts. Events are listed on the Planet Ark website.
Last year, volunteers around Australia planted half a million trees, shrubs and grasses through National Tree Day events. Over 50,000 volunteers participated in regeneration activities with 1,288 sites registered.
If you can’t get out on the day, there are still many ways to get involved at home – plant a tree in your garden, or even just start a vegetable patch, compost or worm farm.
Bring some colour to your garden to attract birds and other pollinators. Native trees and shrubs are best; they not only need very little maintenance but many will flower all year round.
Many Australian native plants flower freely in winter, and that’s good news not just for gardening enthusiasts, but also for wildlife looking for food over the colder months. Having plants in your garden that provide food and shelter for local birds and animals can result in a better environment for both them and you.
A visit to your local nursery should help you choose plants that are beneficial to the native fauna in your neighbourhood, but here are some general suggestions.
– Correa reflexa and cultivars – pretty and bell-shaped, these red, pink and yellow flowers are a nectar source for small birds.
– Banksia ericifolia – its nectar-rich large orange flowers in winter feed birds, insects, even animals like sugar gliders or marsupial mice.
– Bracteantha (Helichrysum) bracteata daisies – these come in many forms with bright yellow, white or cream flowers that are favourites for butterflies.
– Grevillea rosmarinifolia and cultivars – prickly and tough, these small grevilleas provide a great hiding and nesting place for small birds, and lovely pink/red flowers as a bonus.
– Acacia (Wattle) species – many wattles flower in winter, and produce masses of seeds in spring or summer to feed seed-eating birds from thornbills to pigeons and parrots
– Leptospermum ‘Cardwell’ – in late winter this graceful shrub produces a mass of white tea-tree flowers attracting harmless insects and insect-eating birds.
If you have no room or can’t plant trees at home, you might like to support community-led projects around Australia by donating to PlanetArk’s Seedling Bank program.
The program launched in 2019 with the goal of supplying native seedlings to schools and community groups around Australia. Financial grants are awarded directly to successful applicants to get seedlings in the ground and help restore our unique Australian landscape. So far, 132 groups have received funding through Planet Ark’s Seedling Bank and almost 80,000 seedlings have been planted around Australia.