Our Cape to Cape Track hiking accommodation hub Surfpoint Resort is starring in Margaret River’s biggest nature gardens event! It is one of seven inspiring nature and wildlife gardens open to the community when the annual Open Nature Gardens Weekend returns this weekend.

Sell-out event puts spotlight on gardening with natives

The event is hosted by Nature Conservation Margaret River Region. And it’s the third time the popular gardens festival returns after sell-outs in both 2022 and 2021. Tickets are $15 to attend all seven gardens on the program during the October 14-15 weekend. All money raised goes back into nature conservation activities. It’s not too late to reserve your tickets here.

A success story turning lawn into an inspiring native garden

Surfpoint’s garden is a success story about getting rid of lawn and turning it into an inspiring native garden that’s great for people and prioritises wildlife! Local ecotourism business Cape to Cape Explorer Tours runs popular Surfpoint Resort, which has resort-style accommodation and a glamping village run by general manager Nic Chirico and her partner and groundskeeper Nick Campbell (pictured below).

Magic of the Cape to Cape Track captured in resort gardens

The entire garden was done on just a $400 budget using 200 tube stock from Geographe Community Landcare Nursery. The nursery’s Rod Carey will be at the open garden to explain more (and don’t miss seeing the slideshow on the big screen at Surfpoint of the process of creating the garden). 

Some of the original Mediterranean plants remain because they are existing habitats for wildlife. And the aloe is fire-wise. But otherwise, natives dominate. In particular, species that hikers see on the Cape to Cape Track. There’s also a mix of large woody sculptures and rocks for reptile, insect and pollinator habitat.

Surfpoint plantings chosen around indigenous calendar

“Our garden started as a blank canvas of lawn which was a water sucking wasteland (see the ‘before’ photo below),” says Nic. “We had shire approval to install tent sites for Cape to Cape Explorer Tours’ exclusive use. So we had to incorporate the tent pads and design a garden that could bring the magic of the Cape to Cape Track into the design. It also creates space for our campers to feel cosy in their own space.”

Nic says flowering plants were chosen based on the six seasons of the Noongar calendar. And the garden survives on rainfall and an occasional sprinkler water during consecutive weeks of hot summer weather.

Surfpoint plantings chosen around indigenous calendar

Now, a swag of local bird species visit, nest and feed in the waterwise garden. There’s also lizards and Western Ringtail possums. “We have had many more birds make their home in our garden than we ever could have hoped for,” says Nic. “Planning out the garden and planting at the right time of year gave us a 97 per cent success rate with our tube stock planting.”

Gardener Nick learned about native species through connecting with cultural custodians, and he’s improved soil conditions by turning the resort’s food waste into compost and worm castings. He’s so connected to the garden he even talks to the plants. Amazing work team!