How you can get a good deal on native plants

Help preserve grey box grassy woodlands, starting in your backyard. Save on seedlings with this one-day special.

If you’re a conservation-lover or just after a bargain – or maybe a mixture of the two – you’re in for a treat this Sunday.

Head along to Belair National Park and pop into the State Flora Nursery, where you’ll find great deals on a huge range of native plants, particularly those that typically grow under the shelter of the iconic grey box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) species.

It’s all for Grey Box Day, an annual event focusing on preserving this nationally-endangered plant association. But why does it deserve such special attention?

A dwindling habitat

Grey box grassy woodland consists of the grey box and the plants that typically grow with them. It is the dominant vegetation association across Adelaide’s hill-face from Burnside all the way through to Aldinga, following the heavy clay soils of the region.

These woodlands are threatened by the extensive and continuing agricultural and residential development that’s occurred since European arrival, which has seen large areas removed or significantly changed.

It is important habitat for a large range of native fauna, including parrots, possums, and butterflies.

Grey box ribbons.jpg
Grey boxes in Belair National Park, prettied up ahead of Grey Box Day

Grey Box Day

This Sunday is the ninth annual Grey Box Day, an event run by the Grey Box Community Group in collaboration with State Flora.

Spend a lazy day pottering around the State Flora Nursery, rediscovering the beauty of native plants and why they can be the best choice for your garden – whether it’s because of their water efficiency or bushfire resistance, or the fact that they provide food and shelter for birds, insects and reptiles.

While State Flora Nurseries operate year-round, it’s on Grey Box Day at Belair that you’ll get the best deals on selected local plant species – including grey box seedlings – and other great local tree, shrub, and grass species suitable to Adelaide conditions. These include:

  • Drooping sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) – a tree that grows to 10 metres high and is an important food source for cockatoos.
  • Round-leaved wattle (Acacia acinacea) – a striking shrub that grows to 1.5m, which flowers prolifically in late winter.
  • Climbing saltbush (Einadia nutans) – a groundcover with a 2m spread, ideal for rambling over rocks or stumps. Its fruit is good for lizards and birds.
  • Kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra) – a great butterfly-attracting tussock grass with real character. It grows up to 1m high.
  • Packs of six seedlings are available for $10, or 20 seedlings for $30. You can select your own combination of seedlings or ask the staff for their expert advice.

Event details

Why not make an entire day of it? There’s a Country Fire Service fundraiser BBQ, live music, face painting and other activities in store at Grey Box Day. Here’s all the details:

What: Grey Box Day
When: Sunday 7 May, 10 am to 4 pm
Where: State Flora Nursery at Belair National Park
Entry: the State Flora Nursery is located within Belair National Park. Entry to the park is free if you’re attending Grey Box Day, so why not make the most of it and bring a picnic lunch and spend the rest of the day in the park.

Feeling spurred on to get out into the garden this weekend? You can also consider these natives to brighten up your yard.

If you like what State Flora has to offer, you can also check out their stand at the World Environment Fair in Adelaide on 3 to 4 June.

Main image: Grey Box seedlings 

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