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Randwick City Council Nursery – jam packed with great plants & trees to make your garden more sustainable & wildlife friendly.

Another view. Still more plants behind where I was standing.  Shame it was a drizzly day. It looks much nicer when the sun is shining.

I have wanted to visit the Randwick Council Nursery for ages so when I saw that they had an Open Day earlier this month we went.  What a delightful surprise this place turned out to be.

The verge outside the entry gate is a lesson on using natives to create a beautiful effect without needing many plants or much in the way of maintenance.  Also, the choice of plants they had on the verge was very different from what I have seen before.

WIRES had a stall there, but unfortunately had left by the time I went over for a look.  It was nice to see their organization supported by Randwick Council as they would have been able to speak to a lot of people about WIRES & what they do.

The nursery was much bigger than I thought it would be.  We spent ages just walking & looking at the stock available.  The prices were great too.  Plants could be bought for

  • 70mm x 50mm $1.40
  • 120mm x 50mm $2.30
  • 140mm x 120mm $6.50
  • 200mm x 160mm $13.50
  • 270mm x 240mm $37.00.

They sell ferns, cycads, groundcovers, climbers, grasses, clumping plants, shrubs & trees that grow to over 4-metres in height.

Most of the plants were indigenous to the local area – something quite important when so much of the ground is sand.  However, you will see many of the plants available growing in Marrickville LGA as well, so the nursery is useful for this region.

They did have some exotics, but not many.  There were heaps of trees & a much wider variety than you can generally find in a commercial nursery.  There were also tons of different species of plants suitable for planting verge gardens.  The variety was almost overwhelming.  It’s been ages since I’ve seen so many different species of native plants for sale.

All plants are propagated or grown from seed onsite by the staff.  They have a glass house for this process.  Once established the plants are lined up in rows outside.  It’s really impressive to see so many propagated plants, especially if you are like me with so many failures.  The bulk of the plants are for full-sun planting, though there is a great selection of plants that need shade.

The nursery staff were enormously helpful.  Just tell them what kind of garden & effect you are looking for & they lead you to all the plants they think will be suitable to your needs.  We even got a full lesson from one of the staff on how to propagate natives, which helped us identify three things we were doing incorrectly.  None of which were mentioned in any of the videos or literature we have read on the process.

Randwick City Council’s website says that this nursery had been in operation for more than 50-years.  They supply plants for their own landscaping needs as well as to other Councils, organizations, landscapers & the public.  The nursery also provides workshops for the community & for schools as part of the Randwick Council Environmental & Sustainability Education Program.

Outside the Office is a display shelf full of pamphlets on urban wildlife & how to attract them into your garden.  This is the best selection of free reading material about plants & wildlife that I have ever come across.

I had thought this nursery was only open to the public 4 times a year on the first Saturday of each new season, but discovered they are also open to the public from Monday to Friday all year, making it much easier to go there more often.

If you are into native plants & you would like to buy good healthy stock at very cheap prices, this is the nursery for you.  It is well worth the drive & we had no problem parking, including on the Open Day.  It’s also good just to go & have a look at the wide range of native plants available.  I doubt you will be disappointed.  You couldn’t be at these prices.

You can find more about the Randwick City Council Nursery here –

They also have a stock list to help you research plants before you arrive –

Many plants had an educational sign giving horticultural information, plus a photo of what it will look like once mature. I found this very interesting & helpful.

Another section of Randwick Community Nursery



Screenshot of Randwick Council’s Tree Identification Manual showing Agonis flexuosa. A photo of the whole tree is also provided, plus lots of other information.

Randwick City Council has developed a truly wonderful 6-volume Tree Identification Manual, which is available online at no cost.  Most of the trees in the Manual are Australian natives, though there are some exotic varieties as well.

Randwick Council have divided their municipality into specific environmental areas depending on whether it is coastal, swamp, plateau, valley, dunes & included other factors such as wind, rainfall & soil to help residents choose trees & shrubs that will grow well in their particular environment.

From the Randwick Council website –

“Each species is identified by its botanical name & common name. The manual also includes details of the tree, including the origin of the species & the season in which it flowers (if appropriate). A general description & a photograph of a typical example of each tree species provide an idea of its mature dimensions & overall form, along with photographs & brief descriptions of the tree’s fruit, flowers, leaves & bark.

At the rear of the manual is a matrix of all species which includes the species name, average mature dimensions, whether it is native or exotic, evergreen or deciduous, the severity of any potential tree root damage, suitability under powerlines, fruit/leaf drop severity & estimated average lifespan.”

112 trees & shrubs are covered. This is an excellent resource for those interested in trees & shrubs.  The Manual is easy to read & understand.  The photos are very clear making identification much easier.  Even though it has been designed for the Randwick municipality, the Manual is very useful for people who live outside Randwick LGA.   I also think this is a great resource for school students.

Marrickville Council plants trees that are included in this Manual.

You can download Randwick City Council’s Tree Identification Manual here –


1.   Big congratulations to Marrickville Mudcrabs for winning have the Urban Landcare Group of the Year award from the Sydney Metro CMA.  Photos on Canterbury Council’s Flickr site –

multi-coloured jewels on a bed of grass

2.   In a great move, the City of Sydney Council is going to install closed-circuit TV cameras to deter tree vandals at Blackwattle Bay Glebe. 34 trees were poisoned here & the replacement trees were also  vandalised. The Council will replant trees once the CCTV cameras are installed.  They are also employing Rangers to do night patrols to catch tree vandals.  Clover Moore said, “The city is committed to increasing our green canopy for all residents to enjoy, with plans to plant more than 1,300 trees this year & improve our green spaces.”  The article said tree vandalism is a serious offence with a “maximum penalty of $110,000 in the Local Court & $1.1million in the Land & Environment Court.”

3.   Mosman Council has a webpage called ‘Big Ideas for Mosman.’ One of the ideas is to plant fruit trees in public places.  This is an initiative I see happening a lot overseas.  Fruit trees are also being planted as part of Sydney of City Council’s ‘Sustainable Streets’ project.

4.    Myrtle Rust, a serious fungal disease of plants, has been confirmed in world heritage listed Lamington National Park. It can have devastating affects in forests – “deformation of leaves, heavy defoliation of branches, dieback, stunted growth & plant death.”,20931

sapling Cooks River

5.   The NSW government has rezoned to allow 2,500 new apartments near Batten Reserve Lane Cove. A consultant’s report recommended removing more than 80% of the trees in Batten Reserve to reduce the risk of bushfire. Batten Reserve is a stunning & important piece of Sydney’s bushland. To think of it being cleared like this is alarming & very sad.  The council (Lane Cove Council) was particularly angry about the suggestion the tree canopy in Batten Reserve be reduced ‘to between 15 per cent & 30 per cent,’ which could lead to 85 per cent of the trees being removed from the reserve & trees elsewhere having branches removed within four metres of the ground.”  The Stringy Bark Creek Residents Association are fighting to save the land they have cared for over the past 40 years.

6.   Port Stephens Council workers chopped down protected koala trees next to Salamander Bay shopping centre. The Council has been trying to sell this land.  The NSW state government is investigating.

7.    Wollondilly Councillors will be deciding whether to chop down 12 Plane trees in the Argyle Street shopping strip in Picton because the trees are causing problems with the road & footpath.  Many residents have called on the Council not to remove the trees.  I wonder how City of Sydney Council manages a city full of Plane trees.  In an update, the Council has given ‘in principle’ support to do a  staged removal of the 12 Plane trees, but want to meet with residents first.  Clr Read said, “The fruit they (the trees) drop would result in rolled ankles or worse who knows, it could be me it happened to.”

8. National Parks & Wildlife are considering another application to shoot Cockatoos, this time in Potts Point.  This makes me so angry, especially as there are ways to deal with mischievous birds other than shooting them.

9.  Rejoice!  The dispersal of the flying foxes from Sydney’s Botanic Gardens has been delayed for 12 months so they can collect more information on the bats & fit more with tracking collars.–eviction-order-put-back-20110516-1epaf.html

10.  The Department of Environment & Natural Resources is currently using noise dispersal to evict a colony of 150 grey-headed flying foxes in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. An interesting bat statistic: Hendra virus has killed 4 people in QLD since it was first detected in 1994.  Lightning kills 10,000 people a year worldwide.

11.  The City of Perth is planting 85,000 trees this year in the town of Koorda to offset the carbon footprint of Perth vehicles.  In 2009, they planted 85,000 trees in the town of Kojonup.

12.  Kings Cross residents won their campaign to keep Fitzroy Gardens as it is despite a plan by the City of Sydney Council to remove most of the trees & the historic convict-era bricks from the park. All up the plans & community consultation cost the Council $628,000.

13.  17-hectares of Malabar Headland has been classified National Park.  Randwick Council Mayor Murray Matson hopes that the remaining 106-hectares will also be made into National Park.  “Malabar Headland is one of the largest areas of significant natural vegetation within the Randwick City Local Government Area & is home to several species of rare native flora & fauna.”

14.  Sydney Council has completed their first-ever wildlife survey & of the most unusual sighting was a peregrine falcon seen in Ultimo & a red-bellied black snake in the Royal Botanical Gardens. Sadly, the survey also revealed a noticeable absence of small birds …. Common urban reptiles such as the eastern blue-tongue & eastern water skink were also scarce.
 … this was mainly due to a lack of suitable habitats in our cityscape. Many small birds are reliant on dense shrub vegetation, while reptiles often favour rocky outcrops.”

Candle Banksia flower - the birds love it

1.      The community lost its fight to retain a children’s tree house in a very beautiful street tree on Narelle Avenue in North Bondi last week.  Waverley Council said the tree house was unsafe & they would “build a compliant play area in a nearby park.” The community is upset, especially the children who used to play in the tree house.

2.      Wahroonga Council planned a new park & playground at Water Street Reserve, Wahroonga. To do this they would need to remove 400 square metres of shrubs & grasses in an endangered Blue gum high forest. Council said no trees would need to be removed.  The community protested so the Councillors have asked for a report, including “funding & restoration options.”

3.       Bardon Park Coogee is used by the Coogee Dolphins Rugby Club to practice, but the community say it is a small park that is meant for use by the residents & not the sporting clubs. Randwick Council had intended to returf the park.

4.      Lot 4711 Bambara Road, Kariong zoned Conservation & Scenic Protection (Conservation) was allegedly cleared without permission from Gosford Council.  The Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water is investigating.

5.      A vandal has damaged or destroyed new street trees on Walnut Street Carnegie on 6 occasions over the past 18 months.  The residents are upset & want the trees replaced.  Glen Eira Council said they probably wont replace the trees immediately – so the vandal gets exactly what they want despite living on a street where the residents do want new street trees.

6.      In a fantastic move, Tweed Shire Council passed a new Tree Preservation Order that extends Koala habitat in the region. Another 1,870 hectares of land in the Tweed will now be protected.  This is great as we are seriously in danger of losing wild Koala populations due to habitat loss.

7.       Elm beetles & cedar moth caterpillars have stripped the leaves of scores of Elm & Cedar trees in Wagga Wagga.  Wagga City Council say they have 500 Golden elms as street trees which they intend to progressively replace over the next 10-years though they don’t say why. They do however, say that the affected trees won’t die as a result of the insect damage & their leaves will grow back .

8.      Shepparton Council intends to remove 63 mature London Planes trees in Corio Street Shepparton.  The residents are campaigning to retain the trees.  The Greater Shepparton City Council said some of the trees were dangerous while others were dying.  The trees are 80-years old.

9.       Conservationists protesting logging at Rats Head Road in the Bodalla State Forest Narooma successfully stopped work by suspending a platform 10 metres above

Norfolk Island Pines Tempe

the ground from a tree with the rope attached to logging equipment.  However, during last Tuesday night, an unknown person cut the ropes that supported the platform while a protester was up in the platform. South East Forest Rescue (SEFR) representatives presented Forests NSW & the logging contractors with a ‘Statement of Guarantee.’  The statement set out terms & conditions requiring Forests NSW to guarantee there will be no impacts on the environment as a result of the logging & ‘to guarantee any logging Forests NSW & their authorised contractors undertake will not impact on the health & wellbeing of the citizens of New South Wales, being both present & future unborn generations.’ The logging contractor refused to sign the guarantee.” Later the tree that held the viewing platform was chopped down by an unknown person.

10.       Woolahra Council is attempting to cut down tree vandalism done for views by allowing residents to prune public trees for views & sunlight, including trees in public parks.

11.     Orange City Council plans to rezone & sell Fred Dobbin Park.  This park is only one of more than a dozen similar community parks that the Council plans to sell.  The residents are fighting the selloff saying they need their parks.

12.      Marrickville Mudcrabs reported that on Saturday 19th February 2011 a car was dumped into the Cooks River near Tempe Railway Station.  Marrickville Council was informed & sent a Ranger to assess the situation.  Apparently the car was leaking petrol & oil into the river.  I am unaware as to whether it has been removed yet.

This is very well done. It's in Stanmore

While I was researching a Significant Tree Register I came across Randwick Council’s web-site & looked at their information on street trees.

Their web-site says the following:

  • Would you like some street trees planted outside your property? Fill in a Street Tree Planting Request form to apply to have one or two trees planted outside your house.
  • You can also be involved in selecting the trees for your street & take part in planting & maintaining those trees.
  • Sign on to Council’s Community Street Tree Planting Project. Randwick City Council has developed a Street Tree Masterplan. This is a comprehensive set of recommendations for managing Randwick’s street trees. It also sets out strategies on tree planting, principles for tree rehabilitation, priorities for conversion of overhead powerlines & the phased removal & replacement of inappropriate tree species.
  • The Street Tree Identification Manual lists the characteristics & requirements of each of the tree species recommended in the Masterplan.

Randwick Council provided 600 trees to SE Climate Action Coalition for 350 & brought everything except the food

This is a very sensible approach to take.  Residents are likely to water and care for new tree plantings if they have requested & been a part of the decision making process.    Allowing the community to be involved in deciding what species of trees are planted & where they are planted fosters community ownership & pride.

Having a manual of tree species suitable for planting would go a long way to stop inappropriate tree species being planted, as well as the resultant community anger & grief when the trees are removed.

Tree rehabilitation, rather than removal can only be applauded.  Many people, & I am one of them, become rather attached to their local trees.  Just because a tree is old or ailing, doesn’t mean it has to be chopped down.  Many tree diseases are easily treated & although this costs money, in the long-term, the community is richer for keeping its large mature trees.

Having ‘phased removal’ of inappropriate tree species will not be traumatic to people, the environment or property values.   I have seen all the large trees in a street removed & replanted with saplings.  If the saplings survive the long drought we have experienced while they are not being watered in summer and are not removed by vandals or people who don’t want that particular species or a tree at all, or being run over by vehicles etc, it can be years before the streetscape looks green again.

Removal of all the large trees, rather than phased removal does has an impact on property values.  Research has shown that a tree-lined street with a green canopy can result in 24% higher value in property sales.  Any Real Estate Agent will tell you that a property that has decent mature trees will sell for more money than the same property devoid of trees.  The same effect happens regarding street trees.  A tree-lined street with overhead canopy makes people feel good, which translates into higher property values.

I do not intend to relocate, (pity says MC) so property values are of little or no relevance to me.  It is however, something that to my surprise so many people are unaware of.   They apply to have street trees outside their property removed & cut down trees on their own property without thinking they will be losing money as well as many other benefits. This is as sensible as the person who removes pressed metal ceilings & federation details & spends money modernizing their property for sale to a buying community that is known to be actively looking for houses with original details.  The house will still sell, but Real Estate Agents know the dumpy house needing renovation, with intact features will sell for very high prices, despite needing renovation.

If you are interested to read about the benefits of trees go to the page “About trees’ in the left-hand column of this site.

click here to follow Saving Our Trees on Twitter



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