Add a native touch to your garden

Ipswich green thumb Heather Knowles is passionate about native plants.

“I think they have a lot to offer but can sometimes be overlooked,” she said.

Ms Knowles, who has a Diploma in Horticulture and owns Newerah Natives at Ebenezer, recently shared her knowledge and passion as part of Ipswich Libraries’ Learn for Life series.

Here, she shares five plants to add a native touch to your garden.


The Banksia most people have seen before is Banksia serrata from the seed pods in the Snugglepot and Cuddlepie series. Banksia come in a range of sizes from prostrate to more than 20m and have very interesting seeds. It gets its name from Joseph Banks, because it was the first plant he recorded in Botany Bay. There are many different varieties and they work well in almost any garden. It is a very adaptable plant.


One of the best things about Hibiscus is they are very easy to care for. They come in a range of sizes, are fast growing and produce very pretty flowers which can add a touch of colour to the garden. Their flowers can be yellow, pink, white or apricot and are often 15cm or more across. Peak flowering is in spring, but they often have spot flowering in other seasons.


Not many people know there is actually a native geranium. It’s called Geranium solanderi. Most of the geraniums people know are exotics with big showy flowers whereas the native geranium has smaller flowers. It is scrambles and will run all over the place, so it’s good ground cover. It grows well in pots and can deal with most soil conditions.

Pigface (Carpobotrus Glaucescens)

Don’t let the name put you off, Pigface is hardy and attractive. It has a big pink flower and is a very interesting plant. It is mainly found in coastal areas or where there is a high saline content in the soil. The leaves have been known to have been roasted and eaten with meat as a substitute for salt. It is a prostrate, creeping succulent with upright leafy branches, fast growing and frost tolerant.

Olearia nernstii (Ipswich Daisy)

A lot of people know this one as Ipswich Daisy. It’s a shrub that grows between one and two metres tall. It combines well with taller shrubs and has small white daisy flowers. It’s very attractive and has a woody stem and branches. It flowers winter to spring with flowers at the end of the branches.

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