You've probably heard of - and may have even planted - a butterfly garden, but what about a bee garden?
Pesticide use and destruction of habitats have led to a global decline in honey bee populations. This has huge implications for human food security, as bees are important pollinators who promote biodiversity and help crops thrive. Concerned Australians can help increase bee numbers by planting bee-friendly plants in their garden.
When planning your bee garden, make sure to include a variety of flower sizes and shapes to cater to all species of bees. A selection of shallow blooms and deep tubulars will allow for different sizes.
The following plants are easy for beginners and cover different shapes and sizes.
Possibly the most common flower in the world, daisies come in a huge variety of species that tolerate most climates although they typically prefer moderate shade and water. Their colours run the gauntlet from the traditional yellow and white to pink and purple-hued varieties, making them a bright and cheerful addition to any garden.
Propagating daisies is also very easy, as they have two sections in their flower that produces seeds. Once these sections have seeded the wind will disperse them across your garden.
Lavender is an ancient Mediterranean plant that traveled the Rome, then England, then finally over to Australia. It's a hearty plant that doesn't like a lot of water and loves the sunlight, making it great for our hot climate.
Lavender plants have a well-developed root system, so need to be planted in big pots or directly in the ground. Once they're planted, they don't need a lot of work and you can propagate simply by planting cuttings.
The red brush flowers of eucalyptus trees hold a special place in the Australian psyche, but you might be happy to know that they are also a haven for bees and seed-eating birds. If you've got the space, try a Summer Series eucalyptus hybrid that has been specifically bred for east-coast Australian backyards.
As native trees, eucalyptus is well suited to Australian climates and requires little work beyond pruning and fertilising at certain times of the year.
Also, know as Meuleleuca quinquenervia, the tea tree plant grows naturally along the eastern coast of Australia. It is well known for it's thick, flaky bark and for this reason is sometimes called a paperbark tree.
In autumn, tea trees produce small white flowers that the birds and the bees flock to. Throughout the rest of the year, you can steam the leaves to produce an antibacterial oil that can be used to treat a huge range of inflictions, from insect bites to acne.