The native lasiandra is a beauty.
The native lasiandra is a beauty. Contributed

Plant certain types of flowers to lure birds into the garden

ONE of the loveliest ways to wake up in the morning is to hear and see birds enjoying the surroundings of your home, flying in and out of the garden, drinking, eating, and controlling some of the many insects that attack our precious plants.

So, why not start the year off well with a plan you know you can carry out, to attract more of our feathered friends to the garden.

Like human beings, they need food and water as well as shelter, and where possible nesting sites, so let's start with water, which can be easily provided with a few shallow birdbaths - or if the birdbath is too deep, add some flat stones for birds to stand on while they bathe and drink.

Be sure to keep it topped up and fresh, and clear of shrubs that can hide predators such as cats.

Food can be provided by growing a variety of suitable plants to feed all the different types of birds in our region.

Honeyeaters look for nectar producing plants such as melaleucas (paperbarks), grevilleas, eucalypts, Backhousia (aniseed tree), banksias and hosts more.

Fruit eaters are attracted to the many different types of lillypillies (Syzygium, Acmena and Waterhousia), Pittosporums (Brisbane laurel is popular), Elaeocarpus (blueberry ash) and lovely native lasiandra (Melastomaaffine).

These are necessarily short lists as there are hosts of plants to suit our feathered friends, and many of those mentioned will also provide shelter and nesting sites for them.

There is nothing better than watching birds building their nests, and we've had that pleasure recently with a couple of willy wagtails we called Will and Wilhemina - they tried our clothesline for starters, but ended up happily creating their luxury home in a nearby tree!

A couple of eggs followed rapidly, and within a very short period, they were up and out of there.

Two excellent plants that are used extensively in our village include the native lasiandra (Melastoma affine) that has displayed its large eye-catching lilac-pink flowers since spring, and continues producing even more flowers and buds - the birds enjoy the fruit to follow.

The second one is the weeping riberry (Syzygium luehmannii), and this has so many attributes, producing wonderful red flushes of new foliage, and hosts of white flowers in spring, which are followed by a large crop of small pink fruit between the attractive small green leaves.

Most nurseries in the region carry these and the many other varieties of suitable plants - you'll find Fairhill Native Plants at Yandina have some excellent displays of plants to help you in your selection, and watch out for their popular bird watching events, they are great.


Seasonal tasks

Many things need attention during the hot season, not the least of protecting yourself if you are spending time outside.

Cool clothing is obvious, and for those with a light complexion, long sleeves and leg coverings, a hat and sunglasses should just about finish that.

But don't forget to keep some refreshing water handy for when you need it.

Then there is the garden, and quite often you'll find while mature plants can stand up to the heat providing they're getting sufficient water, young plants need some help, so apply some Yates DroughtShield which is a great help.

It's also a good time to prune your fuchsias and roses lightly, removing dead flowers and giving them a fresh start.

If they are potted varieties, check to see if they need repotting, and only use a good quality potting mix.

Hibiscus are thriving everywhere, which means the hibiscus beetles can be making a mess of them in no time.

Confidor is ideal for this.

And the ready-to-use container will certainly save you a lot of messing about.


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