Bonza Bushland Gardening Guide

The Bonza Bushland Gardening Guide has been compiled to assist you with looking after your beautiful big bushy backyard. It encourages a style of gardening that not only helps you keep your bonza bit of bush in tip top shape, but also contributes to protecting our bigger bushland backyard that doesn’t recognise property boundaries in the mosaic of public private land across our community.

Here's a summary of what you'll find on this page
  • About this Guide
  • How to be a Bonza Bushland Gardener
    • Ideas to Try
  • Weed removal techniques
    • Hand Pull
    • Crowning
    • Dig Out
    • Cut & Paint
  • What's a Transformer Weed
  • Planting a Small Bird Habitat
  • Grow Me Instead on the Coal point peninsula
    • Asparagus Fern
    • Formosa Lily
    • Mother of Millions
    • Queensland Silver Wattle
    • Lantana
    • Camphor Laurel
    • African Olive
    • Narrow-leaf Privet
  • Find Out More
    • Wildlife Injuries
    • Animal Poisoning
    • Illegal Dumping
    • Nest Boxes
    • Native Plant purchases
    • Learn about weeds
    • CPPA Resources for loan
    • Local Reference Guides
    • Lake Macquarie City Council Programs
      • Backyard Habitat for Wildlife
      • Lake Macquarie Landcare
    • Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance
      • Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group
  • Threatened Fauna & Flora Map

About this Guide

We live in a bushland suburb surrounded by a view of the blue with a backdrop of green, abundant space and a friendly community.

The Coal Point peninsula is different from the more urban areas across Lake Macquarie, our mornings are quite rowdy with the abundant birdlife chorusing, the lake is a hop, skip and a jump away (never more than a couple of hundred metres), and the trees still form a continuous corridor that extends to the Watagans.

This Bonza Bushland Gardening Guide has been compiled to assist you with looking after your beautiful big bushy backyard. It encourages a style of gardening that not only helps you keep your bonza bit of bush in tip top shape, but also contributes to protecting our bigger bushland backyard that doesn’t recognise property boundaries in the mosaic of public and private land across our community.

The Threatened Species Last Stand on the Coal Point Peninsula project has assisted in identifying over 235 native plants, 87 species of birds and the presence of Threatened Species such as Squirrel Gliders, Powerful Owls and Tetratheca juncea. This wildlife lives in our community too and is part of a complex and healthy bushland ecosystem that provides peace of mind, aesthetic beauty and recreational opportunities. It cleans our air and filters the water flowing into the Lake.

This guide is the final product of the six-year, $250,000 ‘Threatened Species’ project, funded by the Environmental Trust between 2012-2018. The project tackled the legacy of plants that had escaped from the ornamental gardens of the early settlers and had become weeds, transforming the local bushland. The ambitious whole-of-community project aspired to a weed-free peninsula where bird-dispersed exotic weed seeds are ultimately replaced by local native plant species. Whilst the Coal Point Peninsula is not yet weed free, The Bonza Bushland Gardening Guide provides ideas and resources to keep us heading towards that goal. 

How to be a Bonza Bushland Gardener

One of the best things about having a garden is being able to enjoy it… watching the changes over the season and admiring the wildlife visitors is a big part of the pleasure.

A bushland garden has the potential to reduce the amount of gardening time, energy and money needed, while increasing the benefits to mental health, physical well-being and the local variety of life.

Along the Coal Point peninsula, a large percentage of backyards still have a connection to the Spotted Gum Forest that spans the ridge and slopes. These natural areas provide an abundance of native seedlings overflowing into local backyards. Accommodating these ‘bushland neighbours’ whilst controlling the weeds is value-added gardening, saving time and money.

Ideas to try

  • Swap out invasive garden plants with local natives. Native plants are better suited to the local conditions, don’t require chemical treatments and provide food and shelter for local wildlife. 
  • Reduce the need to mow. There are many native low growing plants and grasses that are great substitutes for ‘the lawn’ such as Dichondra and Microlaena. Mulch can create borders and feature areas as well. 
  • Create a rockery or leave a log or two lying about. A rock garden with feature logs can be home for small creatures and insects, which in turn are food for local birds and possums. Logs also give small animals protection from the heat in summer and shelter from predators all year round. 
  • Water bowls and bird baths are wildlife magnets, especially if they are out of reach of domestic animals. A stick or some stones in the bowl will help prevent small animals drowning. 
  • Make use of your Standard Waste Bin for bushland weeds and to get rid of spent flower heads. Other garden waste can go in the Green Bin. Dumped garden waste creates a problem for your neighbours and landcarers who look after the local bushland. One year’s seeding makes seven year’s weeding. 
  • Learn to identify the eight major local weeds and how to remove them.

Weed removal techniques

Hand Pull: Mother of Millions and most seedlings require little more than a gentle tug. Take hold of the plant at ground level and gently rock it back and forth until it comes out. Even the smallest pieces of Mother of Millions can grow another plant so all bits need to go in the Standard Waste Bin. (Image: National Trust)

Crowning: Asparagus Fern requires the ‘crowning technique’. The growing point of the Asparagus Fern must be removed below the surface. Use a sharp (Gyprock) knife inserted at an angle at the base of the plant to cut around the hard middle growing crown, this is all that has to be removed. The numerous water tubers can be left in the ground; they contain no food and the plant cannot reproduce from them.
Watch a video on Asparagus Fern Removal

Dig Out: Formosa Lily is a plant with bulblets that can easily break off and grow another plant. The main bulb should be carefully dug out, lifting all the little attached ‘cloves’. 

Watch a slide show on removal technique.

Cut & Paint Cut & paint method is used for medium sized woody weeds such as Lantana, Privet, Ochna, African Olive and Camphor Laurel. The plant is cut off as close to ground level as possible with a straight flat cut, so the herbicide doesn’t run off. Herbicide is applied immediately around the rim of the cut surface. 

 Watch a ‘How to Cut & Paint’ video 

What’s a Transformer Weed?

Transformer weeds are invasive plants that have established to such an extent that they are changing the way the natural ecosystem behaves. They impact negatively on native plants and the natural processes. They often form monocultures.

Local plant replacement suggestions have been provided for the three kinds of local micro-climates: the forested hills, the moist gullies and the lake edge and floodplain.

The forested hills gives examples of native plants suitable for growing on the slopes and ridgeline of the Coal Point peninsula. These plants are part of an open forest-woodland community which experiences the driest conditions.

There are numerous moist gullies that dissect the ridgeline along the peninsula. These microclimates are often moister and shadier so different native plants are better suited to these conditions.

The lake edge and floodplain are areas where the water table is high or the influence of brackish water is felt by the native plants. Vegetation in the lowest lying areas is adapted to the tidal changes or inundation that occurs during heavy rain.

Grow Me Instead on the Coal Point peninsula guides have been created for 8 of the transformer weeds in our community. Click on the image for more detail.
Asparagus Fern  - Removal Method: Crowning
Formosa Lily - Removal Method: Dig Out
Mother of Millions - Removal Method: Hand Pull
Queensland Silver Wattle - Removal Method: Cut & Paint mature plants, Hand Pull seedlings
Lantana - Removal Method Cut & Paint mature plants, Hand Pull seedlings
Camphor Laurel - Removal Method: Cut & Paint mature plants, Hand Pull seedlings

African Olive - Removal Method:  Cut & Paint mature plants, Hand Pull seedlings

Narrow-leaf Privet - Removal Method:  Cut & Paint mature plants, Hand Pull seedlings

Find Out More

Wildlife Injuries 

Animal Poisoning

Illegal Dumping

If you see someone illegally dumping rubbish, contact LMCC on 4921 0333 or email with the following details:

  • date, time and location of the event 
  • description of any vehicles involved, including number plate details if possible 

Nest boxes

The Greater Sydney Local Land Services have compiled a Build your own Wildlife Nest Box Guide which includes homes for our local Squirrel Gliders and Microbats.

The CPPA coordinates the building of nest boxes for locals to install in their backyards and hosts an annual nest box monitoring activity in our reserves.

Native plant purchases.

Want to learn about weeds?

Join in a local landcaring session. There are locals who landcare at:
  • Coal Point Reserves (every Thursday)– Robyn 4959 1507 
  • Arbre Close (last Saturday), Lions Park (2nd Friday) –contact Lois 4959 5863 
  • Kilaben Bay (1st Saturday) - Ken 4959 5340 

CPPA Resources for loan

  • Landcare Tools - for having neighbourly working bees 
  • Remote Camera - for checking who’s visiting your backyard at night 
  • Progress Hall – for social gatherings with friends to 

Local Reference Guides

A roadside verge-planting guide for local conditions has been produced by Nature’s Magic Garden Designs to assist in planning a planting that retains good sight lines and considers the slopes.

A guide for plants that are fire retardant was compiled by Lake Macquarie Landcare and a demonstration garden of these plants was created at the Fire Station on Ridge Road by the Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group and the Toronto Fire & Rescue team.

Common Gums Trees of Coal Point is a handy reference for the majority of gum trees that are in our local area, compiled by the Lake Macquarie Landcare Resource Centre

Grow Me Instead on the Coal Point Peninsula guides can be downloaded for Asparagus Fern, Mother of Millions, Formosa Lily, Lantana, Queensland Wattle, Privet, African Olive and Camphor Laurel.

There is more information about our local native plants at The Plants in our Bigger Backyard.

Lake Macquarie City Council Programs

Backyard Habitat for Wildlife

A free program that encourages residents to set aside an area of their backyard to assist local native wildlife. Register on Council website  or call 4921 0333 to receive your member pack which includes two free tubestock.


Lake Macquarie Landcare is a partnership between the Lake Macquarie Landcare Volunteer Network Inc.(LMLVN), LMCC and over 200 volunteer Landcare groups within the LMCC Local Government Area. Local groups are supported through the Landcare Resource Centre with training and resources such as an action plan to guide the work, a Green Team to lend a hand, plants, mulch and tools. Contact the LRC 49210392.

The CPPA landcare group works under the umbrella of LMLVN.

Sustainable Neighbourhood Groups

Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group has a vision “To be proud of our neighbourhood, maintain and improve access to natural beauty and cultural heritage, promote sustainable growth and tourism, and foster a community of environmentally aware and active residents. The group meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at The Hub, 97 The Boulevarde, Toronto, 5-6:30pm

Threatened Fauna and Flora

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