Micro-habitat Pollinator Link Garden B4C Sustainability Centre

By: Michael Fox

Planting finished – Mark does the final watering in

An enthusiastic team completed the micro-habitat Pollinator Link garden at the B4C Sustainability Centre – a little piece of bush that can be created in a suburban backyard.

The garden is a key link between Belmont Hills and Bulimba Creek, creating a wildlife corridor for birds, butterflies and bees. Today’s workshop started with my presentation about the Pollinator Link initiative: Pollinator Link – Belmont Hills – B4C – Bulimba Creek

Landscape plan

The garden was landscaped to create a micro-habitat with a mixture of native grasses, herbs, shrubs and trees providing food, shelter and water for a range of pollinators as well as frogs and lizards. Just as we were finishing one of the locals arrived to inspect our handywork. Besides the Magpie two species of butterflies and a skink were already taking advantage of the water and shelter.

Grass Habitat

Barbed Wire Grass

The planting includes Kangaroo Grass Themeda triandra and the aptly named Barbed Wire Grass Cymbopogon refractus.

Evening Brown Melanitis leda

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Barbed Wire Grass is caterpillar food for the Evening Brown butterflies.

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Evening Brow caterpillar

The Evening Brown caterpillar is quite unique with its black face and horns. I love coming across species I have never seen before.

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Breeding site for Leafcutter & Resin Bees

The clumping nature of grass provides safe habitat for lizards. Adding a backyard bee home will create breeding places for native Leafcutter and Resin bees. Australia has more than 1,500 native bee species but they are not commonly known. Only a small number of native bees like the Singless Sugar Bag bees, Trigona carbonaria, are social bees living in a hive. The vast majority of our native bees are solitary. The female Leafcutter bee cuts neat 20c sized pieces out of rose leaves. Rolling the cut leaf between her legs she flies off to find a suitable hole to make a cigar shaped nest to load with pollen before laying her eggs. Drilling a number of holes, ranging between 5 and 10mm diameter, in an off cut of landscaping sleeper created a bee home for native bees in the grass habitat.

Wood shavings for Pardalote nest box

Bird Breeding Nest-boxes

Many of our native birds, and species like Sugar and Squirrel Gliders, depend on tree hollows for nesting. Trees typically only start forming hollows once they are over 100 years old. Tree clearing for urban development means there is now a critical shortage of breeding hollows and we are not seeing some of the most special birds in our backyards.

Installing nest boxes designed to support particular will help restore the balance for smaller less aggressive species and bring more birds to our backyards.

Spotted Pardalote (female) – Photo: A Kittila

Pardalotes are a particularly cute little bird that normally burrow into earth banks to nest in a hollow. Aside from being cute these birds eat psyllids/lerps that attack eucalypts and lilly-pillies. The pardalote box has a short tunnel to simulate a tunnel into an earth bank.

Water – High Pond & Low Pond

Water is the most critical factor in building backyard habitat for wildlife … even butterflies and bees need water.


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Frog ponds with bird bath in background

Recycling an old cast iron bathtub also creates an excellent resource for frogs and lizards.

Mounting the bath tub high above the ground makes it safe habitat for climbing frogs like the Eastern Drawf Tree Frog Litoria fallax.


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Eastern Drawf Tree Frog – Fox Gully Bushcare

Climbing frogs like the Eastern Drawf may travel well away from water sheltering from the sun under leaves. However, these frogs still need water for breeding and they can be crowded out by ground dwelling frogs like the Striped Marsh Frog Limnodynastes peronii. Providing a high pond recreates the balance that existed prior to urban development.

Striped Marsh Frog – Roly Chapman Reserve


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The low pond provided habitat for ground dwelling frogs that cannot climb.


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Bird bath overflows to High Pond

Bunnings have excellent hanging bird baths for only $13. These baths are ideal because they can be mounted out of reach of cats and they are just the right depth for birds like Rainbow Lorrikeets. Two Rainbows can fit in at the same time and still have room to splash water for metres around. A key issue with backyard birdbaths is changing the water regularly to stop mosquitoes breed. By hanging the bird bath over the High Pond and connecting a solar pump the water level will be automatically maintained for the birds and reduce risk of mosquito problems.

Arrow-leaf Violet – caterpillar food for Laced Fritillary

Food for Wildlife

Attracting a wide range of butterflies species to our backyards requires planting a range of different plants because the caterpillars of species like the Australian Leafwing Doleschallia bisaltide and the endangered Laced Fritillary Argyreus hyperbius only feed on one plant species.

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Laced Fritillary – source Create More Butterflies

The Laced Fritillary is so specific its caterpillars will only eat leaves of the Arrow-leafed Violet Viola betonicifolia even ignoring the more commonly planted Ivy-leaf Violet Viola banksii. Planting Arrow-leafed Violets will help protect these beautiful but highly endangered butterflies.

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Good Bug Mix

Planting Green Harvest’s Good Bug Mix is an interesting experiment in providing food for a range of beneficial insects such as Hoverflies the larva of which eat aphids off roses.

Attract beneficial insects

Rubbish as Habitat

Recycled railway sleeper retaining wall

Landscaping for the micro-habitat garden used a lot of materials that we would normally take to the dump. Old railway sleepers that spent thirty years as a retaining wall are now perfect habitat for insects and lizards. Insects and lizards, as well as, protecting our garden plants, are food for insect eating birds.

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Planting Kidney Weed around crazy paving

Old concrete was reused as crazy paving. Planting native Kidney Weed Dichondra repens will provide low growing very hardy ground cover that will spread and lock the paving in place.

Kidney Weed makes an excellent “no-mow” lawn for shady areas and will also handle full sun.

About Mt Gravatt Environment Group

Mt Gravatt Environment Group is restoring a unique piece of Australain native bushland only ten minutes from Brisbane CBD.
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One Response to Micro-habitat Pollinator Link Garden B4C Sustainability Centre

  1. Laurie says:

    Great day and easy and inspiration …:-)

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