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Plant Guide to the Southern Highlands

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, so please do not plant weedy plants. 


To Get Started - Join Habitat for Wildlife!


Habitat for Wildlife is a free program and is about making our backyard gardens more wildlife friendly. Visit the web site using the link below 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 make your garden more wildlife friendly. Join Habitat for Wildlife to get your free hard copy!


PDFBackyard Habitat Planting Guide (PDF, 2.3MB)

HFWHabitat for Wildlife (internal link)




Grow Me Instead Booklet


Grow Me Instead


The Nursery and Garden Industry of NSW and ACT have produced the booklet Grow Me Instead. This booklet provides native and exotic alternatives to invasive weedy plants.


Other useful links:

linkThe Society for Growing Australian Plants 

linkAustralian National Botanic Gardens 

linkSouth East Local Land Services 






Native Vegetation Mapping Project and the Green Web


Visit the link below to find out more about the Native Vegetation Mapping Project. 


linkNative Vegetation Mapping (internal link)


Visit the link below to find out more about The Green Web Project. This project will utilise the completed native vegetation map in late 2016 to identify priority areas for conservation and investment. 


linkGreen Web (internal link)




Council's Biodiversity Strategy


The 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. 

This strategy will soon be replaced by the Green Web, so watch this space!



More Information


For further information, contact:

Telephone: (02) 4868-0888

Email: mail@wsc.nsw.gov.au

Last Updated: November 12th, 2018
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