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A habitat garden is designed to mimic the natural landscape by providing food and shelter for local wildlife. Urban expansion continues to reduce habitats available to native plants and animals. A habitat garden can attract many of these birds and animals back into our gardens, providing safe spaces for them to feed and live.

Why create a habitat garden? Reverse the decline. Worldwide, natural habitats continue to be lost to human settlement. Help reverse the decline by choosing to garden with local native species. Save threatened species. Many of our native plants are threatened due to land clearance. Save water. Native plants use less water than most exotic species. Hobart is the second-driest capital city in Australia. It’s rewarding. Visits from birds, bandicoots, butterflies and more ... what a treat! It’s good for the health of the environment – and it’s good for us!

How to create a habitat garden Layer your garden. Create homes for a variety of animals and insects. Leaf litter, groundcovers, shrubs and trees are all important layers for different animals. Use local plant species. This helps restore native vegetation and provide natural food and shelter for wildlife. You can create habitats with non-local natives, however be aware that some plant species become bushland invaders. Provide year-round food and shelter. Select plants to provide safe accommodation and dining opportunities for a variety of wildlife throughout the year. Start small. Think big. Habitat gardening can be as small or as big as you like, from a simple frog pond to an entire bushland garden. Start Habitat Gardening today!

Habitat hints for attracting wildlife Birds are easy to attract to

your garden. To attract a variety, choose plant species to provide year-round food and shelter on various levels (groundcovers, shrubs and trees). Plant shrubs in groups to form thickets for safe nesting sites for small birds. Build a nesting box and install it in a tree. Provide a birdbath near a flowering shrub or tree and keep it filled with fresh water. Keep a record of the birds that visit your garden and notice how the addition of extra habitats and safe spaces encourages more species.

Frogs need

ponds with rocks and aquatic plants to hide amongst. They eat insects, so plant insect-attracting native plants around your pond. Frogs are also good for controlling insect pests in your vegetable garden. Common frog species in southern Tasmania’s suburban areas include brown tree frog, common froglet and Tasmanian froglet. It is important that you follow the correct hygiene procedures to avoid spreading chytrid – a frog fungus devastating our frog populations.

Mammals living

in southern Tasmania include brushtail, ringtail and pygmy possums, eastern-barred and southern brown bandicoots, Tasmanian bettongs, long-nosed potoroos, eastern quolls, echidnas, Tasmanian pademelons and Bennetts wallabies. Bandicoots and possums are common visitors to suburban gardens near bushland areas. Possums use trees for shelter and food. Eastern-barred bandicoots need native grasses and dense shrubs for safe daytime cover. At night they search for soil invertebrates in lawns and gardens, leaving small conical-shaped holes in the ground. Look for evidence of mammal activity (droppings and scratchings).

Reptiles need safe

basking places (stones and logs) amongst the nearby shelter of ground covers and leaf litter. Common suburban reptile species include the metallic skink and blue-tongue lizard, both of which feed on bugs and beetles. Blue-tongue lizards also help control snails and slugs in your garden.

feed p Butterflies on nectar-producing plants, while butterfly larvae often feed on grass stems. Species that occur in southern Tasmanian suburban gardens include bright-eyed brown, Hobart brown, common brown and Australian painted lady.

Insects provide food for many birds and small mammals. Ants, beetles, spiders and bugs are essential components of any habitat garden. Insects Fallen twigs and branches, rocks and leaf litter provide the perfect home for spiders and beetles. Grasshoppers prefer tall grasses, crickets need damp grassy areas and dragonflies are attracted to grasses around ponds.

Taroona Environment Network

Keeping your garden safe

Further resources

It’s great to attract wildlife to your garden, but make sure your garden is safe.

Useful books Habitat Gardening (Peter Grant, ABC Gardening, 2003) Attracting wildlife to your garden (Rodger Elliot, Lothian, 1994) A guide to Flowers & Plants of Tasmania (Launceston Field Naturalists Club, New Holland Publishers-Australia) Complete Book of Australian Mammals (Ronald Strahan (ed.), Angus & Robertson, 1991) Tasmanian Mammals – A Field Guide (Dave Watts, Peregrine Press, 1993) The Fauna of Tasmania – Mammals (R H Green, Potoroo Publishing) Field Guide to Tasmanian Birds (Dave Watts, New Holland PublishersAustralia, 1999) A Field Guide to Frogs of Australia (Marlyn Robinson, Reed New Holland, 1999) Snakes and Lizards of Tasmania (Hutchinson, Swain, Driessen, Nature Conservation Branch, 2001) A Field Guide to Insects in Australia (Paul Zborowski & Ross Storey, Reed Books, 1995) Butterflies of Tasmania (Peter McQuillan, Tasmanian Field Naturalists Club, 1994) Tracks, Scats and Other Traces (Barbara Triggs, Oxford University Press, 1996)

Cats are a threat to native wildlife because their natural instinct is to hunt birds, reptiles and small mammals, such as bandicoots. Cats should be kept indoors from dusk to dawn to give small mammals a chance to safely explore your garden. During the day, a bell attached to your cat’s collar can help to warn birds. Barking, inquisitive dogs can frighten and harass wildlife or even kill birds and small animals. Control your dog’s movements to ensure your garden is a safe haven for wildlife. Chook feed attracts feral birds, such as starlings and sparrows, which can intimidate some native birds. Ensure your chook feed is accessible only to your chooks. Feed vegetable scraps to your chooks in the morning, so left-overs don’t attract feral rats, which can also frighten away smaller native mammals. It’s always better to let birds feed naturally, rather than attract them to your garden with bird seed. Bird seed that is labelled ‘native birds’ will also attract feral birds. Plant flowering shrubs near windows so you can enjoy watching them closely when indoors. It’s best to manage any pests and weeds naturally because chemical pesticides and herbicides can poison wildlife. If herbicide is needed, we recommend Glyphosate. There is a variety which is safe for frogs and can be used near ponds.

Watering your habitat garden Local native plant species need little water. Seedlings may require watering during hot, dry summer months. To conserve moisture and suppress weeds, mulch heavily with natural leaf litter or gum bark. Watering early in the day is best.

Great websites Flora for Fauna <> – a highly informative Australia-wide website that helps you plan your garden right down to species level. Gardens for Wildlife <> – a Tasmanian website on habitat gardening. Understorey Network <> – a detailed list of Tasmania’s plants, including propagation information.

This brochure was prepared by the Taroona Environment Network (TEN). TEN was formed in 1997 to restore biodiversity along Taroona’s coastal foreshore. Countless satisfying hours have been spent participating in monthly working bees to remove weeds, collect seeds, propagate and plant. We invite you to join us and become part of our rewarding work.

Habitat Gardening / email: Concept and text: Fiona Rice 2004. Revised 2009 All flora photographs: David Fitzgerald <> Other photographs: Liz Haywood, Mike Driessen, Birds Tasmania, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service Background illustration of Taroona foreshore: Kris Schaeffer Design: Liz Haywood TEN’s logo is a graphic depiction of a chiton – a shell animal that lives on our rocky foreshore. An Aboriginal name for this shell animal is ‘Taroona’.




… creating a haven for wildlife

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Habitat Gardening in Taroona  

Leaflet about gardening to improve native fauna habitat in Taroona, on the Derwent Estuary in Tasmania, Australia. A3 size poster also avail...

Habitat Gardening in Taroona  

Leaflet about gardening to improve native fauna habitat in Taroona, on the Derwent Estuary in Tasmania, Australia. A3 size poster also avail...