Which plant where? And why not on my nature strip? 


    By John Weldon

    As I was mowing the endless miles of nature strip bordering my corner block recently, I wondered why, in this time of climate concern, we cling so desperately to European notions of lawn, especially on our nature strips. Lawns are a monoculture environment offering little shelter, shade or food to native fauna, while demanding much in time and resources to maintain. 

    Yes, you do find the odd nature strip that sports something other than grass, but these are a rarity. ‘Why so?’ I wondered. In search of answers, I headed to the environment pages of the various western suburban council websites. 

    Here’s what I found. 

    In most jurisdictions, you can apply for a permit (with, in Brimbank, the sinister name of ‘Permit to Plant or Interfere with Vegetation’) to grow something other than lawn on your nature strip but your options are limited. Some of these restrictions make sense: we do need to provide room for people to open car doors, cross the road and place their bins out for collection. 

    But at a time when we’re a ll looking to future proof our world by thinking global and starting local, wouldn’t it be great if councils could provide more than that? Some do hooray Hobsons Bay! But wouldn’t it be great if all councils offered nature strip design plans, lists of suitable plants, and the ways in which these work as wildlife corridors and shelters for urban fauna and insects? 

    While we wait for some councils to catch up, there’s nothing to stop us doing a little research of our own and a great place to start this work is at a website named: which plant where. 

    This is a NSW government supported collaboration between HORT Innovation and Macquarie and Western Sydney Universities, that allows users to enter details about their location, environmental conditions and so on in order to identify the kind of plants best suited for their gardens. Or nature strips. 

    Many of the council restrictions in regard to nature strip planting concern the height, spread and form of plants; Which Plant Where allows gardeners to source plants that adhere to those restrictions. 

    Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. 

    So, if you want to transform your nature strip from lawn to luscious, if you’re keen to provide shelter and sustenance for our native fauna while doing your bit for the climate at the same time, head to your council’s nature strip info page (see links below) and then to Which Plant Where, pop in your postcode and add some natives to your nature strip. 


    Which Plant Where 


    Hobsons Bay Strips/Nature-strip-landscaping-guidelines 

    Maribyrnong Planning-Services/Current-and-future-planning/ Strategies-Plans-and-Policies/Naturestrip- Landscape-Policy-and-Guidelines 


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