One of my favorite plants in my wildlife garden (really just a dense cluster of plants at the back of the garden!) is Banksia menziesii. If you have free draining sandy soil in your front or back yards I highly recommend this as a feature tree/bush – the more it likes the conditions the larger it will grow. For me my 10 year old plant is a 2-3m tall and round shrub, but I understand it can grow into a 10m tall tree, which really would be a wonderful thing to see.

Banksia menziesii
With regular pruning Banksia menziesii makes a dense shrub which is a haven for wildlife.

It is quite a dense bush with serrated stiff leaves and has grown into a large dome shape with branches touching the ground and all year round it has the most amazing 10cm flower spikes which develop into surreal looking cones. If you enjoy having flower arrangements in the house this may be the perfect plant for you as the foliage makes a good background plant, holding up more floppy flowers and the cones and flowers make stunning modern arrangements.

Banksia menziesii
The flowers of Banksia menziesii soon fade leaving sculptural cones -perfect for flower arranging.

All manner of native wildlife love this plant as a food source and a safe haven including birds such as the Western Spinebill, the Red Wattle Bird and Little Wattle Bird, the usual suspects such as wrens and cockatoos and especially the birds from the Honey-eater family feed on the Banksia’s nectar during its long flowering period.

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So if you want a plant you can dig in and forget this is the one for you, as once planted in the first year it does not need, indeed positively hates extra water and fertiliser. It is a really fabulous plant for dry sandy areas of your garden.

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