Encouraging Life with a Native Bush Garden

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Australia is one of the driest continents in the world, so when it comes to suburban gardens, it makes sense to grow hardy native plants and trees, that not only use less water, but attract an abundance of life. Our Melbourne correspondent Philippa Rayment shows us what one man is doing to create his very own vital bush garden.

One hour’s drive from Melbourne is the coastal village of Mornington. Here Michael Coultas is transforming his garden into natural bush land. His purpose and passion is to encourage life with native plants and other growth.


Michael says creating a dynamic garden which is full of life is easy.

[Michael Coultas, Home Gardener]:
“Already we have a very nice breeding frog population. We have a breeding fish population. The skinks are doing extremely well.”

Visiting Michael’s bush garden is nursery coordinator Laura Crilly.

[Laura Crilly, Nursery Coordinator]:
“I’m a nursery coordinator for Mornington Peninsula Shire and we specialize in growing indigenous plants and native plants. This morning we are at Michael’s garden in Mornington.”

And she’s enthusiastic about the benefits of a bush garden.

[Laura Crilly, Nursery Coordinator]:
“I think it really creates an exciting dynamic around your house, and it’s also very important for conservation reasons.”

Michael talks about the value of frogs.

[Michael Coultas, Home Gardener]:
“I think the frogs are a wonderful barometer of the conditions in the garden…
With a frog you’ve got to remember the natural habitat that the frog lives in.…because the habitat provides the shelter, the food and let’s call it the companionship that frogs, like people, need.”

And the provided shelter would certainly be appreciated.

[Michael Coultas, Home Gardener]:
“I don’t know any species of life that have more people wanting to eat it than the good old frog.”

Well at least in this garden, the frogs can rest a little easier.

Philippa Rayment, NTD Mornington Australia

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