City of Subiaco - To verge or not to verge!
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To verge or not to verge!
Friday 3 May 2019

The colours of the rainbow will grace Smyth Road this year thanks to a new waterwise verge garden.
Did you know a typical verge lawn can use anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 litres of water to sustain it over summer? The environmental benefits of establishing low water use plants on verges is rapidly gaining popularity.
Proud Shenton Park residents Kate and Michael Brady and their young family were delighted with the green corridor extension to their home.  Kate said she immediately noticed a change in temperature. “The new verge has had a cooling effect and no longer traps in heat. Native plants are so important and they come in a wide range of foliage and flowers,” she said.
There have been ecological benefits too, such as providing habitat for local wildlife. “We’ve noticed an increase in spiders, bees, insects and birds, particularly the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo who are visiting more regularly – they are loving the new space, as much as us. We are doing our bit, giving life and a corridor for insects to move onto the nearby reserves,” she said.
With smaller backyards becoming the new norm, Kate said it is important to use the available space. “It is nice to play a part in creating clean, green, liveable spaces,” she said.
Kate’s new waterwise verge garden was made possible through the City of Subiaco Waterwise Verge Restoration Program. She jumped at the opportunity to redo the verge outside her home. “It was a really easy process and completed within three weeks,” she said.
To promote the best start possible for the garden Kate decided to remove the grass, weeds and five cubic metres of soil to prevent competition with new plantings. The city delivered and spread a high-quality mulch to protect the roots and planted 50 tube stocks. The final addition was a soil conditioner to provide nutrients and help to hold moisture in the soil to provide a boost for the plants to settle. “Preparation makes a difference. I think it is brilliant, and no retic needed,” she said.
Kate claimed to be a total amateur when it came to gardening. “But I will give it a good shot!” she said. She explained that the new verge is low maintenance. “It’s not ‘no’ maintenance but certainly not as exhausting as pruning roses or maintaining lush grass. You have got to put a little bit of love into it,” she said.
The City provided a range of native plants that provide a variety of flowers, leaves, colours and texture – lots of Honeypot, some Silky-leaved Blood Flower, Gastrolobium Capitatum (egg and bacon native plant), Pink Summer Star Flower, Cut Leaf Hibbertia and Regelia Ciliata. At this stage I water once a week and pull the grass out every so often to avoid spraying, and in nine months’ time it will be on its own and approximately 70 centimetres high,” she said.
Kate is motivated to show people what can be achieved with native plants. She hopes more neighbours upgrade the verge. “I will help look after it”, she joked. She is also keen to ‘waterwise’ part of her front garden with native plants, keeping some grass for the kids to play on.
The sustainable verge has brought the street together, with people stopping to admire it and
have a chat. Are you inspired to makeover your garden verge with colourful, diverse natives? Until Friday 31 May residents of the city can buy up to 80 plants at the subsidised price of $1.50 each from APACE Community Nursery in North Fremantle. The Local Native Plant Subsidy is presented by the City of Subiaco in conjunction with the Western Suburbs Regional Organisation of Councils (WESROC).

To transform your space into a native garden:

  • choose plants from WA that will provide lots of flowers

  • choose good quality mulch free from dieback to help protect our trees across the city.
Pictured: Kate and Arthur Brady.