Exploring Jen Bartlett’s Pollinator Link garden

By: Michael Fox

Explore Jen Bartlett’s Pollinator Link garden. Jen’s garden in Salisbury is part of the Stable Swamp Creek link creating mosaic in suburban Brisbane.

She-oak male-female

Female                 Black She-oak Allocasuarina littoralis                 Male

Black She-oak Allocasuarina littoralis are planted for gentle sound created when wind blows through the striated leaves. Female She-oaks have red flowers sprouting directly from branches and males have russet flowers on the tips of the leaves.

Native Ginger - Alpinia caerulea - flower - 29 Nov 2013

Native Ginger Alpinia caerulea

Native Ginger Alpinia caerulea creates cool microclimate for humans and frogs while provided nest making material for Leaf Cutter Bees Megachile sp.


Brown Silky Oak (White Oak) Grevillea baileyana an attractive rainforest tree from far North Queensland that is very hardy once established and a common street tree in Brisbane.



Dome Tent Spider - Cyrtophora moluccensis - 2 Jan 2018

Dome Tent Spider Cyrtophora moluccensis

Dome Tent Spider Cyrtophora moluccensis create amazing webs shaped like a circus big top.






Zig-zag Wattle Acacia macradenia the classic green and gold Australian colours, indigenous to Central Queensland but still caterpillar food for Granny’s Cloak Moth and Wattle Notodontid Moth.








Hardenbergia violacea - flower - Aug 07

Native Sarsaparilla – Hardenbergia violacea

Native Sarsaparilla Hardenbergia violacea a hardy scramblerer as ground cover or growing on a fence. It is also caterpillar food for Common Grass-blue butterflies and attracts Eastern Spinebill birds.






Fan Flower Scaevola - Living Mulch - 2 Jul 2016

Dune Fan Flower Scaevola aemula

Dune Fan Flower Scaevola aemula
are found on coastal sand dunes however they also thrive in our urban gardens creating great ground cover (Living Mulch) in hostile habitat.

Thanks to Jen for her generosity in sharing her Pollinator Link gardening experience.





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Planning Brisbane’s future – Intergenerational Forum

Activity - participant mix - 22 Nov 2017

Demographic mix of participants

By: Michael Fox

I joined approximately one hundred other Brisbane community members of all ages yesterday, to discuss the future of our city. Hosted by Brisbane City Council the Forum is an interesting and genuine effort to understand how our community wants our city to develop for future generations.

Greg Clark composite

Prof Greg Clark – New World Cities

Our discussions were informed by a number of presentations by experts in building truly great cities starting with Prof Greg Clark who joined us from London.


Prof Clark introduced us to Brisbane as a New World City attaining global reach. Now that is a powerful reason to be proud of our place in the world and optimistic for the future.

The rise of smaller, specialised, globally-oriented cities

The current cycle of globalisation has seen the rise of many smaller, more specialised, but highly globally oriented, cities. This group of cities are neither ‘established’ nor ‘emerging’. They are smaller, high-income cities with efficient infrastructure, an attractive quality of life, and fewer social, environmental or economic externalities such as crime, pollution, congestion, high costs or inequality. Unlike ‘Emerging’ or ‘Established World Cities’, they are often not the primary city in their national or regional system of cities. (Globalisation and Competition: The New World of Cities 2015)

Prof Greg Clark - city vs strategic planning - 22 Nov 2017

The New World Cities model paints a picture of great opportunities for our city. However,  Prof Clark also highlighted the importance of utilising broad based Strategic Planning to develop those opportunities. This highlights the importance of working across multiple jurisdictions like Council working with State Government, not operating in isolated silos. An issue raised by at least on participant at the Forum. Activity - priorities2 - 22 Nov 2017

The priorities identified by participants aligned closely with the success factors for New World Cities. for example, attractive quality of life, low pollution, congestion and inequality.

I was pleased to see that protecting and developing greenspace was consistently given high priority by Forum participants.Kath Lofin and Maslow

‘City Doctor’ Dr Katherine Loflin, with her social work background, introduced us to the Power of Place. Dr Loflin’s presentation explored the Soul of Community research project:

  • What makes a community a desirable place to live?
  • What draws people to stake their future in it?
Kath Lofin - Power of Place - 22 Nov 2017

Power of Place

For Dr Loflin, a key factor in growing great cities is optimism.

Community Problem-Solving, often complicated by emotional low-trust responses, is an excellent example of how the Power of Place can support an optimistic outlook. If you love the place you live, you will be motivated to actively break through resistance to find solutions. The model suggests that planning with a focus on Place creates a community with stronger economy and quality of life.

James Tuma - summary - 22 Nov 2017 a

James Tuma – values based planning

James Tuma, National Director of Design at Urbis, showed how the concept of Place can be applied to our subtropical River City and how it links to our shared values. His focus on design quality based on shared dialogue highlights the importance of Prof Clark’s broad based Strategic Planning.


Mike - 22 Nov 2017 cropped

A city-wide mosaic wildlife habitat

Let’s do it! Kirsty Kelly, Kirsty Kelly Consulting leads the last activity for the day: challenging our groups to think big and present a project that will shape the future of our city.

I represented our group and challenged our audience: “Create a city-wide mosaic wildlife habitat from bayside to Bardon and beyond. Bring the Australian bush back to our backyards.”

Be part of an extraordinary city changing project to create and register 30,000 Brisbane Pollinator Link gardens providing water, food and shelter for birds, butterflies and bees.



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What’s in your garden?

Blue Triangle - Puddling - D Frenkiel - Nov 2017 cropped

Blue Triangle butterfly Puddling   Photo: D. Frenkiel

By: Michael Fox

Blue Triangle Graphium sarpedon butterfly Puddling in neighbour’s sandpit.

Butterflies, like all animals, need water. At breeding time, male Blue Triangle butterflies and other swallowtail butterflies will be looking for mineral laden water.

Murrogun - Robert Whyte SOWN

Murrogun Laurel Cryptocarya microneura


Blue Triangle butterfly caterpillars feed on a range of native tree species including Murrogun Laurel Cryptocarya microneura. Murrogun Laurel is also caterpillar food for Bronze Flat Netrocoryne repanda repanda and Common Red-eye or Eastern Dusk-flat Chaetocneme beata butterflies, as well as, fruit eating birds like native pidgeons.







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CWCN Pollinator Festival

CWCN Display

Pollinator Link display

By: Michael Fox

The Pollinator Link® display was very popular at the Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network Pollinator Festival with a regular stream of visitors wanting to learn about gardens for birds, butterflies and bees, and claim a free pollinator plant donated by SOWN.


Bee Home 2

Building Backyard Bee Home

I also answered lots of questions for kids completing their pollinator quiz sheets or challenged them to see what was in the nest box. Parents asked if the glider in the box was alive but the sharp eyed kids just said “That’s a toy!”

Activities for kids were a big part of the Festival. My favourate was building decorative Backyard Bee Homes.


Native Plants Qld

Art with native flowers

“Who says Australian native flowers are boring?”

Certainly not the Native Plants Queensland team who showed the real beauty our local flowers with their display.



Paten Park

Paten Park Native Nursery


Grow some spectacular native flowers in your garden. Visit the Paten Park Native Nursery at The Gap for advice and low cost plants.





One young visitor proudly showed me his huge pet Giant Panda Snail Hedleyella falconeri.

Giant Panda Snail - Hedleyella falconeri - 8 Oct 2017

Giant Panda Snail Hedleyella falconeri



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Blue Banded Bees visiting?

Blue Banded Bee - Amegilla cingulata - 7 Nov 2017

Blue Banded Bee on Scurvy Weed

By: Michael Fox

Do you have blue flowers in your garden?

Have a look to see if you have Blue Banded Bee Amegilla cingulata visitors.

I videoed this visitor on Scurvy Weed (Native Wandering Jew) Commelina diffusa flowers this morning.


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Water for backyard wildlife. Echidnas?

By: Michael Fox

Water, Food and Shelter for wildlife are the key to bringing a bit of Australian bush to our city gardens.

Some suprising wildlife is still surviving in Brisbane suburbs. What wildlife is benefiting from your Pollinator Link garden?

Video: Victorian Natives (YouTube Channel)

Echindnas in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve


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Nature’s pest control services are free

By: Michael Fox

Black and White Ichneumon Wasp - Anacis sp. - 14 Aug 2017

Black and White Ichneumon Wasp (male)

I recently found this striking Black and White Ichneumon Wasp Anacis sp. in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Parasitic wasps are one of nature’s valuable pest controllers attacking caterpillars that eat your vegetables.

“Their larvae are either parasitic or hyperparasitic (living parasitically upon a parasite). Most caterpillars and pupas are targeted host. Some species attacked other insects and spiders. The female wasp usually locates the food plants of the host then searches with her antennae for a suitable host. The female usually has the long ovipositor which is used to insert eggs into the host body. Some species the ovipositor is longer than the female’s body. The length of the ovipositor allows the female to inject her eggs into hidden hosts such as leaf-rolling or stem-boring caterpillars.” Brisbane Insects

Plant local natives to provide food for local insects.

Plant local nativesIt may be counterintuitive, however, inviting more caterpillars into your garden will help to control your garden pests. And you will also have more butterflies and birds adding colour and song to your garden.

If you can tolerate some chewed leaves you will be providing year-round food to maintain a team of free specialist pest controllers. The Orange Caterpillar Parasite Wasp attacks caterpillars of the Helicoverpa moth species. These caterpillars are a serious pest in your vegetable garden, feeding on tomatoes, beans, lettuce and zucchini, and your geraniums.

Many of the small birds we love, like the Variegated Fairy Wren Malurus lamberti, love caterpillars for lunch, especially when feeding their chicks.



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