Water-Saving Native Garden | Iora Apartments

Iora Apartments
  • 81 apartments & townhouses
  • four discrete blocks
  • fitness Centre
  • indoor pool with retractable roof
  • underground garaging
  • large communal gardens

A new resident at Iora Apartments in Neutral Bay obtained permission from its Owners Corporation to renew a neglected garden bed with low maintenance native plants indigenous to the area. The garden is thriving, provides valuable habitat for native fauna and gives pleasure to residents and visitors.

The Iora Apartments complex is located on the top of a ridge overlooking Neutral Bay and Sydney Harbour.

When a new owner moved into one of the apartments directly adjacent to a neglected side garden, she suggested to the Owners Corporation that the site would be a good candidate for North Sydney Council’s Native Havens program.

All that was growing on the hot west-facing site was a row of dead or dying Photinias. It is very sunny and has fairly shallow, well-drained sandstone soil – perfect for natives. When she pointed out that the plants and the mulch would be free and that she was happy to nurture the young seedlings till they became established, the Owners Corporation agreed.

Native plant species which are indigenous to the North Sydney area were chosen with the help of Council’s Bushcare staff.  These include taller growing shrubs such as Banksia species, Angophora hispida, and Dodonea viscosa; flowering shrubs such as Callistemon citrinus, Kunzea, Grevillea sericea, and Eriostemon; and groundcovers and grasses including Isolepis nodosa, Lomandra, and Dianella. The garden was cleared, weed matting put down, then a thick layer of mulch. The mulch layer is essential as it breaks down to enrich the soil, keeps plant roots cool and slows moisture loss. The tiny native tubestock was then planted, and periodically hand watered to establish the young plants. Recently they put in a Port Jackson Mallee (Eucalyptus obstans) which has a multi-trunked habit, won’t get too big and will eventually add an upper storey to the garden.

The plants are thriving. The garden needs little water and minimal maintenance, and will be a magnet for native wildlife, particularly small birds like honeyeaters.

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Iora garden at 4 months

4 months after planting

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Iora garden at 12 months

12 months after planting

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Iora garden at 24 months

2 years after planting

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Last Updated: 
Mon 25/01/2016

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