Plant Guide to the Southern Highlands

Banksia at Fairy Bower Falls walking track, photo by V. Watson April 2022

There are many choices we can make as gardeners to improve the wildlife habitat of our backyards and gardens, and this includes choosing local native species as decorative, border, screening or highlight plants. 

Local native species suit our climate and soil type and therefore they usually require less inputs such as water and fertiliser, however it is important to remember that many native plants require a good pruning after flowering to improve growth and habit.

Also, native species are a great option when considering the future impacts of climate change. The plants we choose for our garden need to be resilient. Essentially, if something grows well in your garden with minimal input then that is a good option.

In addition, many exotic garden plants escape into natural bushland, wetlands and creeks and become problematic weeds, such as English Ivy, English Holly, Japanese Honeysuckle and Narrow-leaf Privet, please do not plant weedy plants. 

Join Habitat for Wildlife

Habitat for Wildlife is a free program to help make our backyards more wildlife-friendly.

Join the program and download lists of suitable native plants for your garden, depending on your location.

The Backyard Habitat Planting Guide provides you with ideas to get started. This colourful and informative booklet provides information and tips on how to improve your garden for native wildlife.

Join Habitat for Wildlife to get your free hard copy.

Grow Me Instead booklet

The Nursery and Garden Industry of NSW and ACT have produced a helpful booklet, Grow Me Instead.

This booklet provides native and exotic alternatives to invasive weedy plants.

Download the Grow Me Instead brochure(PDF, 3MB) 

Local projects for our natural environment

The Native Vegetation Mapping Project occurred between 2015-2017 with a goal of collecting data on native vegetation at a fine scale across the local government area.

Green Web is an exciting landscape-scale project which utilised the completed native vegetation map in late 2016 to identify priority areas for conservation and investment. 

The Green Web project:
  • Maps high environmental value lands (HEVL) across the Shire, including important wildlife corridors such as the Great Western Wildlife Corridor; and
  • Maps priority investment areas for biodiversity conservation, including private lands.
  • Delivers actions to secure public land including Council owned or managed (CCLM) Bushland Reserves.

Read more about Council's Environmental Projects

Council's Biodiversity Strategy

The Wingecarribee Biodiversity Strategy (2003) is a useful source of information about our local native plants and the communities they are associated with.

The report identifies the type and location of species and communities and interprets this information into a series of maps designed to help planners and landholders manage their land for optimal biodiversity.

The report also provides a blueprint for ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and environment management in the Shire. 

Wingecarribee Biodiversity Strategy