Don visited one of the very best native gardens in Australia. Amazingly, this beautiful garden is planted on the roof of a house! Deidre and Ivor Morton’s mud brick home appears to be underground, but it is actually built on top of a rock and it nestles sensitively into the side of a hill. The concrete roof is covered with soil and mulch, and planted with Australian natives. Many people would think that an ‘underground’ house would be damp and dark, but as Deidre explained, almost every room has natural light and there hasn’t been a leak in 20 years.
When Don stood in the garden he found it hard to comprehend that he was actually standing on the roof of the house! There seems to be a large tree growing on the roof, but the Sydney red gum (Angophora costata) is actually growing up from the courtyard below. The plantings include low growing banksias (Banksia ericifolia dwarf form, B. integrifolia prostrate form and B. serrata ‘Pygmy Possum’), kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos cv.), the ground cover form of Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana ‘Prostrata’), flannel flowers (Actinotus helianthi), blue native daisy (Brachyscome multifida), yellow buttons (sold as Helichrysum ramosissimum) and purple coral pea (Hardenbergia violacea).
The native plants on the roof flower for many months of the year and attract native birds and animals. Deidre and Ivor are literally surrounded by wild birds whistling and singing, most notably the best songbird and mimic of them all, the lyrebird. In fact, on the day we visited Don was delighted to see a lyrebird in the bushes behind the house. Many birds nest on the roof, and wallabies graze there at night.
Deidre and Ivor support the conservation of our native birds through Birds Australia. To donate to Birds Australia phone 1300 730 075 or visit www.birdsaustralia.com.au