What is an indigenous garden? There is no exact definition. A truly indigenous garden is one that has no exotic species in it all. However, most people retain some exotic species, either for sentiment or because they are just too difficult to remove.
What IS important is to make sure there are no invasive exotic plants in your garden. Some exotic species sold in nurseries can do a lot of damage to the environment if they escape from your garden. Be careful.
Perhaps we can say that we are “indigenising” our gardens, introducing as many indigenous plants as we wish to, knowing that these plants will in turn introduce insects, birds, and small animals.
If you are interested in creating an indigenous garden you’ll be faced with a wonderful range of choices. And it is not just about the species you plant, it’s about the type of garden you want.
You can create a garden that is full of trees, and watch them over the years as they turn into giants, full of wildlife, transforming your property into a small forest.
Or a flower garden; you’ll be amazed by the wide variety of indigenous flowering plants. By choosing and planting carefully you can enjoy colourful flowers in the garden all year around.
If you concentrate on shrubs, especially in a smaller garden, you’ll enjoy both flowers and indigenous fruit-bearing plants. You can carefully use shrubs to make even the smallest garden look bigger.
You can even decide to make your garden a small “wilderness area” by planting a range of trees, shrubs and smaller plants that are endemic (only grow in that area) so that they are able to “relate” to each other and create a profusion of local wildlife,
And remember, indigenous plants do not normally require the insecticides, soil maintenance and constant watering that exotic plants do. Most of the maintenance is replanting, pruning and weeding.
Think of indigenising your garden as a project – you may decide to do it over a number of years. But however you do it, and whichever type you choose, an indigenous garden will enrich your life, bringing you closer to nature and giving you a wonderful sense of achievement and fulfillment.