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Starting your spring planting? Read these Conservation Week tips first!

Published: 13 October 2017

It might not feel like it, but spring has arrived and Conservation Week 2017 is underway. From 14-22 October get involved in protecting and caring for Auckland’s nature and wildlife.

One of the easiest ways to get involved is thinking about conservation when you plant your garden. What you plant can have a real impact in helping feed, home and sustain native species. With the right plants in place your garden could become a haven for birds, insects and even lizards!

Native birds

Native birds look for places where they can build a nest and easily find food and water – much like us humans! A variety of flowering and fruiting species will ensure there is food and shelter in your garden all year round.

Flowering native plants that attract birds include:

  • pōhutukawa
  • kōwhai
  • pūriri
  • harakeke
  • kōtukutuku
  • rewarewa
  • five finger.
Planning on doing some planting in spring 2
A long-tailed blue butterfly. Photo: Richard Plinston, Azonic Associates

Pollinating insects

Flowers that attract insect pollinators are usually white, pink or green, with lots of nectar and a strong scent.

They often have small, open flowers in clusters, allowing insects to easily reach the nectar.

If you’re hoping to attract insects, you should also think about planting in close, tightly spaced groups with a minimum of five plants per group, as they need easy access to flowers on different plants of the same species over short distances.

Insects also like multi-layered vegetation, so be sure to consider ground covers, shrubs, trees and climbers.

Lizards

Lizards like skinks and geckos need places where they can hide. You should plant small trees and shrubs in tight, closely spaced groups to create a haven.

Lizards have a strong sense of smell, so highly scented flowers attract them – but because they mainly come out at night, colour isn’t a factor.

Plants that attract lizards include:

  • toetoe
  • Carex species
  • tī kōuka – New Zealand cabbage tree
  • Coprosma species
  • creeping fuchsia
  • harakeke
  • kānuka

Find out more

A comprehensive guide to planting for wildlife, especially birds, is available from the Department of Conservation. You can also download Auckland Council’s PDF brochure on planting for lizards or for encouraging pollinators.

A guide to planting with locally sourced plants can be found on the Auckland Council website.

Keeping native species safe

Did you know that common pests like rats, ferrets and possums can have a crushing impact on native species' populations? 

Auckland has an ambitious goal to be pest free by 2050. To find out how you can help, go to Pest Free Auckland 2050.