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Bring the bush to your backyard!

Published 30 Sep 2022 by Bee Stephens

Our Native Neighbours tram’s time is almost up on the tracks. It’s had a fabulous season out and about, encouraging more city folk to build attractive habitats for native species in urban backyards. But our colourful commuter needs a little rest from cruising Melbourne’s CBD, and is about to enter a hibernation period. Sleep tight tram!  

That doesn’t mean its message can’t live on, and with sunnier days on the horizon there couldn’t be a better time to get stuck into your garden to support the lives of native animals and plants that also inhabit our cities.  

We’ve workshopped a number of garden guides to offer our bugs, butterflies, mammals, birds, lizards, frogs, plants and pond-preferring animals luxury stays while they’re in town. Have a geeze at the guides below and if one or all of them take your fancy, spend the weekend turning your nature patch (balcony or backyard) into a thriving ecological hub:  

Plant a pollinator patch

Support our pollinators and they’ll support you! Get bugs and butterflies into your garden and they’ll help the native plants in your garden to thrive (plus the plants in your neighbours’ yard). Our  guide to supporting bugs and butterflies will also teach you about decomposers and parasites.  

Create a glider grove

Did you know Australia is home to over 350 native mammal species? And many live in our urban spaces. Learn how to create a glider grove or nesting box to provide a safe home for several species of gliders that frequent our yard’s tall tree canopies. There are also instructions on how to create a fruit bat buffet and a note on why some of our smaller mammals only live in regional and rural areas.  

Build a blue-tongue bungalow

A simple rock, terracotta roof tile or log is the equivalent of a penthouse apartment for the Common Garden Skink or the Blue-tongue. Use our guide to supporting backyard lizards to improve shelter, habitat and feeding opportunities for our reptilian friends. 

Improve your yard’s soundtrack 

There’s nothing like waking to native birdsong or hearing the sunset calls of a feathery friend. Build a pardalote nest box to turn your green space’s acoustics into an orchestral symphony. Plus, our guide to supporting backyard birds includes tips on how to attract Honeyeaters and colourful parrots! 

Dig a pond for frogs!

Was it the tadpole first or the frog? All frogs start life as tadpoles, in the water! So, if you want frogs in your backyard, you’ll need to ensure there is an aquatic abode for them to raise their offspring. Learn how to build a poind and create frog habitat.  

Experiment with aquatics

Changes in our local rivers, streams and wetlands have put stress on our small native fish populations. You can help increase their numbers by creating a pond-in-a-pot and keeping Pygmy Perch, Galaxias and native Gudgeons. This guide to supporting pond life also teaches you how to attract native insects to your pond and make a swampy bog garden!  

Our ‘Meet your Native Neighbours’ campaign is supported by Yarra Trams Community Partnerships Program and brought to life by the artwork of Luke John Matthew Arnold.  

Our tram was active in the city at night. Our tram was active in the city at night.
Meet Your Native Neighbours artwork on a tram. Meet Your Native Neighbours artwork on a tram.
A Sugar Glider carriage. A Sugar Glider carriage.
Banded Yellow Dart butterfly on a Basalt Brachyscome in a Melbourne garden. Banded Yellow Dart butterfly on a Basalt Brachyscome in a Melbourne garden.
A nature strip devoted to nature. A nature strip devoted to nature.
An Eastern Bluetongue in an urban garden bed. An Eastern Bluetongue in an urban garden bed.
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