Cool Your Home – Choosing Trees for Shade

shade trees

Cool Your Home with Trees

Is your street hot? Are you living in an area that is suffering from the Urban Heat Island Effect and craving some shade? Don’t just put up a patio or shade sails, plant more trees!  The best trees for shade to cool down your home are those massive trees planted 50+years ago. You know, those large n leafy Jacarandas, and Plane trees plus others that line leafy suburbs, growing more than 15m+ and usually found in older areas close to the city or town centres in surrounding parks and gardens, sucking up urban pollution and creating cool patches around the city. – But this isn’t practical for our small plots of land that have been taken over by large houses. We care way too much about tree roots getting into the plumbing and cracked retaining walls.

And fair enough, but we really need to do something to counteract the rising temps in our suburbs. Something that probably should have been addressed at the pre-development level by local shires, now rests in our hands. We’ve got to be planting more trees.

Aside from uncomfortable rise in temps in the suburbs, there’s the huge environmental impact as we use more energy to cool homes, there’s less biodiversity in our urban areas, and associated health problems with more heat related deaths.  Plus, the mental aspect – we’re just happier living amongst trees.

We’re still suffering from the hangover of those  ‘low maintenance’ gardens thrust upon us from early 2000. You know those gardens thrown together using  grassy, spiky yuccas and cordylines, flax and dianellas. While these plants are very easy to look after and quite drought tolerant, they quickly look scraggly if not kept up and they don’t really encourage the birds and insects into the backyard, or provide much shade. Yes, they were a low maintenance, hard to kill type of garden, so we could focus on the important stuff like buying all the latest mod cons and toys for our larger homes. But now the burbs are heating up and we need to remedy this by creating shade back into our gardens.

Here’s a list of trees that you could use to create more shade in the garden

Large Shrubs  

Great for smaller blocks, these large shrubs can grow into small shade creating trees.

Large shrubs can be quite useful for creating shade. Plant different varieties with trees and you’ll have lots of local wildlife like birds, bees and lizards making a home in your garden – creating a little microclimate for these little guys.

Hibiscus cottonwood – used a lot in landscaping projects all over the place. It likes living in our corner of the world and grows quickly.

Viburnums -Very versatile large shrubs. We usually have a few varieties growing. Can grow in the full sun. Or in the shade. Great for those narrow areas down the side of the house.

Syzygium -Lilly Pilly – Bush Christmas can grow up to 4m, creating a beautiful, evergreen little tree for shade that small birds, like the Blue Wren, make homes in as it has dense foliage.

Magnolia Little Gem – Chunky, white flowers year round, this is the small version of the huge 20m+ Magnolia grandiflora. These are a very adapatable small tree that can be planted in the sun and in shade.

Bottle Brush – WA favourite, fast growing, big beautiful flowrs and they can be grown in wide range of soil types and sun and shade positions.

Grevillea – Enjoy these year round, Grevilleas are really easy to grow. Fast growing and bird and bee attracting, as many are long flowering.

Crepe Myrtle – This is one of our favourites here at Lakeside. In the heat of summer, Crepe Myrtle will dazzle you with its vibrant flowers. Leave as a large shrub or train into a multi stemmed tree. Spectacular flowers in the heat of summer. Long flowering. Well suited to our climate. Can grow 3m – 7m depending on variety.

Small – Medium Sized Trees 

 Agonis flexuosa – Peppy Trees – native to our Southwest area, these trees are very easy to grow and the local, wildlife likes them too.

Chinese Elm – classic deciduous tree with an interesting shape. Quick to grow and easy care.

Gleditsia There are  3 types. Ruby Lace, Sunburst and Shade Master – Quick growing, these trees put out a lovely shade canopy.

Chinese Tallow very popular deciduous tree that does very well in Western Australia’s hot and sunny climate. Chinese Tallow is fast growing and displays gorgeous Autumn colours.

Evergreen Ash – Lovely small tree with dense, evergreen foliage. Use these as tree row against a fence with shrubs planted underneath.

Silver Birch  – this deciduous tree has a gorgeous stark white character trunk that cracks with age and contrasts beautifully with small, dainty green foliage.

Flowering Plums – add one of these to your garden for a splash of red/purple.

Cercis – American Redbud or Forest Pansy – a beautiful small tree with heart shaped leaves.

Ornamental Pear – there’s a few different choices when it comes to this tree. Choose one that suits your block. They range from column shaped, upright tree shape to more of a traditional pyramid shaped tree. All display autumn colours.

Olive Trees – grow 6-10m. Can be kept clipped and are easy to grow, plus you get olives!

Large Trees

Pick these trees if you’ve got some room for the canopy and roots to grow. These are big, beautiful shade giving trees.

Jacaranda – everyone’s favourite tree that flowers in late Spring and Summer. Creates a gorgeous shady canopy

Tipuanu Tipu – fast growing tree with fern like foliage. Also has a nice canopy for shade

London Plane – elegant and grand, these trees can grow quite large.

Brachychiton – big leaves that stay most of the year, followed by bright red flowers.

Alford Blaze  – this oriental plane tree produces fiery red foliage in Autumn.

Claret Ash – Lovely tree with soft, handsome foliage that turns a deep claret colour in Autumn

Liquid Amber – well known large tree with large, colourful autumn foliage. Quick to grow



tree rows

Come and check out our tree nursery or get in touch with us if you’re after a specific tree for your backyard.















Rock Dust Fertiliser for Plant Health

magnolia LIttle Gem Rock Dust


Add Basalt rock to your garden. It’s volcanic and chokkas full of minerals.

Rock Dust Fertiliser for Nutrient Dense Plants.

The only supplementary gardening products we promote and sell is stuff we actually use in the nursery for growing and maintaining the plants to the standard that you see out here.  As well as what we use in the gardens that we maintain.

We make our potting mix for the nursery out of select raw materials.  In our own garden, we use a quality, composted soil conditioner to plump up our existing soil which grow our plants   One special ingredient we add to both potting mix and soil conditioner is Rock Dust.

We stumbled upon Rock Dust quite by accident, years back,  while ordering some road base for a new section of nursery.  Upon overhearing a vineyard operator asking for ‘fertiliser dust’  – found out what it was and proceeded to order 10 m3 as a trial,  adding it to our potting media. It didn’t take long to see results.  Plants were stronger and healthier, and customers started to comment on the health of their plants purchased from us, months after putting them in the ground.

Jack’s been using it to top dress the lawn, after a clumsy spill on the grass produced a brilliant green colour within a week!

What is Rock Dust?

It’s not a true fetiliser as it doesn’t contain NPK. It just commonly gets called ‘fertliser’ .

Rock dust is Volcanic Basalt Rock. The name Rock Dust sounds magical and if there was a miracle product, this would be it.  On top of the real life results we’re seeing in our plants here in the nursery, we’ve been doing a bit of reading as to why it’s so good.

Rock Dust is ground up volcanic rock, sand like in texture, that holds water, and adds lots of goodies that are instantly available to all plants – fruit trees, vegetables, natives, exotics, trees and palms, even proteacea (such as Grevillea, Banksia, Protea and Leucadendron) will all benefit from the addition of this product.

As you already know, volcanic regions produce some of the most mineral rich, nutrient dense soils on Earth.  Rock Dust is full of minerals and trace elements  ( micro and macro nutrient) that are lacking in our dry infertile, sandy soils. Rock Dust  helps us to build the soil structure, buffer the pH, retain moisture as well as encourage healthy soil organisms which have a mutually beneficial arrangement with plants – they help plants access more nutrients and water – and  in turn, these microbes get their sugary carb fixes from plants.  Rock Dust improves the Cationic Exchange Capacity (CEC) of soil. Soil then becomes adsorbant –  meaning the soil holds onto and chemically binds nutrients like nitrates and phophates in for plants to use, rather than being leached away.


Add Rock Dust to Your Soil

Add Rock Dust to composted soil conditioner and you have yourself a great all round planting mix.  And you’ll see the results in your garden with lush, healthy plants and nutrient dense fruits and veggies with superior flavours. You can sprinkle some into your already established gardens at any time.

Talking to you in the nursery, we find that those of you living on the coast are quite disheartened to have to contend with sandy soil on your house block- and often have trouble establishing a garden.

What we’re living on is a strip of land called The Swan Coastal Plain . It’s about 30km wide and runs up and down the coast, North of Perth all the way down South to Cape Naturaliste. This land is mostly sandy, infertile and highly permeable which means that it doesn’t hold much water. While there are thousands of unique, local endemic species that have adapted to this type of ground over many years, this vegetation has mostly been cleared for farming or development.

If you’re in a new house in a newly built suburb, this sandy substrate, gets cleared of any natural top soil, with yellow builders sand plonked down on top.  Furthermore, this infertile sand has tendencies be hydrophobic. ie – water repellent . The theory is that sand here in Western Australia is coated in a wax like substance leftover from plant residues, and microbial byproducts, that prevents water from actually seeping into the soil below.  No doubt, you’ve seen this before. Water runs right off the soil instead of penetrating into the soil beneath.

To remedy this, build up your soil structure using composted soil conditioner, make sure the soil conditioner that you purchase is not diluted with sand. (don’t need more sand!) Good Soil conditioner  is comprised of well composted organic material called humus and is a breeding ground for the microbial good guys – essentially bringing your soil and garden to life. Adding mulch keeps your soil moist and microbes alive while also adding more organic matter to the soil. Use a wetting agent  if your soil dries out.

If you build your garden soil this way, you can grow a wide variety of plants.

By the Way, there’s one advantage to all of this sandy soil. It’s easy to dig to work in soil conditioners and clay and is also free draining!

Where Can I Get Rock Dust?

Rock Dust is produced locally from volcanic rock deposits found nearby. We have access to Basalt Rock right in our own backyard!  5 minutes away from us, across the highway, in Gelorup, ( Bunbury ) there is a Quarry that mines this Basalt rock. They use it to produce the blue metal, gravelly stuff of varying aggregates for road construction to use loose for your driveway, or hot-mixed into a highway.  Rock dust is actually a by-product of this, called blue metal fines.

basalt rocks in Bunbury - rock dustIncidentally, this rock dust is from ancient lava flow that formed around 130 million years ago when Australia was separating from India and Antarctica. Pictured here are basalt rocks at Bunbury’s Back Beach.This area used to be the site of a basalt quarry from 1890 – 1951 with gravel used for road construction.


We keep a pile of Rock Dust to sell by the scoop – bring your ute or trailer – you don’t need much – and it’s pretty cheap –  $35 will get you a tractor scoop which goes a long way. (cheaper than sand!) or come and grab a bag and shovel and fill yourself – grab some clay and compst as well.

basalt rock dust

Alternatively, for those of you who don’t want a pile of rock dust in your backyard to shovel into the garden, we’ve got some pre-packed on the shelf  which is ‘No Frills’ Rock-Dust-Plus.

Rock Dust Plus 20kg

It’s basically the rock dust, with other added essentials that your plants will love – It’s got some added ingredients that help to break it down so that it is readily available for plant uptake –  A Great product. It’s easy to apply by the handful – with a little going a long way. 

Our Soil Conditioner is also available by the tractor scoop or by the bag. We sell it for $35 per tractor scoop *We also have a soil organics, clay and rock dust mixture avail in tractor scoops for $45. Bring your ute or trailer.

This post is an update . OP April 2015.

Nursery Workers Wanted Spring 2019

cycad Cycas Revoluta Sago Palm

We are looking for some Casual Nursery Workers for the growing season of 2019/2020. This is short term work, with potential for more regular, or permanent hours for the right person.


CASUAL      HOURS Between 6-5  5 – DAYS PER WEEK – some weekend work required.  Subject to change around, as job requires.              

We have work available if you’re fit and active, like to move around outside in the weather and don’t mind getting your hands dirty. You will actively learn about the plants  that we grow and be able to assist clients on how best to meet their needs. Following is the job day to day duties


  • Potting plants
  • Loading and unloading and shifting plants
  • Cleaning and weeding and treating plants and products
  • Watering
  • Fertilising
  • Spraying
  • Weeding
  • General nursery duties not limited to, but including maintenance and care of greenstock.
  • Picking and packing plants and products
  • Serving customers


You will learn a lot about how a production nursery operates and a lot about plants.

The right person will show commitment to the job right from the start with fulfilment of hours offered between the hours of 7am – 5pm  with hours varying dependent on work. Sometimes start from 6am depending on jobs and to beat the heat. This is an active role, with lots of moving around in the sunshine and in the hothouse, greenhouses, and shed.

Please do not apply if you are not used to working outside like this, are unfit, or cannot perform the above job description duties.

Also, please do not apply if you are unable to fulfill the hours required, Monday to Friday between the hours of 9-5 usually, sometimes starting earlier with some weekend work. We have contract orders that need to be fulfilled on time and our focus is delivering quality plants/products on time, so dedication to the job is essential. 

We offer a trial period to see if you are suitable for the job requirements.

Immediate Start


Here’s how to apply

  • Please email – with your cv and a cover letter.
  • In the Subject line of email please put- ‘ RESUME Nursery worker’
  • Make sure you include references-  with names and contact phone numbers
  • Please do not apply if you are not used to working outside like this, are unfit, or cannot perform the above job description duties.
  • Also, please do not apply if you are unable to fulfill the hours required, Monday to Friday between the hours of 9-5 usually, sometimes starting earlier with some weekend work.

(No phone contact at this stage) We will then organise a time to meet if suitable.


Thankyou for your interest!

WA State Horticulture Awards apply to this position – Please read this award

We are seeking someone who is more permanent – therefore, this role is not suitable for transient working holiday makers with temporary working visas (ie backpackers) seeking casual, short term employment.

90mm grafted avocado tree

Fruit Trees – Spring 2019

peach tree fruit


We’ve just stocked up on fruit trees in the nursery –

so here’s a look at what we have at a glance. We try to keep a plenty of fruit trees in stock.

Some come in and out of stock on a regular basis as we can grow and source them. If there’s anything you’re after, or we’re out of stock JUST EMAIL US 

and we can advise on availability



Apricot Trevatt











Dwarf Moorpark

Dwarf Bulida

Dwarf Trevatt

Dwarf Storey


bacon avocado








Wurtz dwarf







Brown Turkey

Black Genoa

White Adriatic

White Genoa


Crimson Seedless


Dawn Seedless

Red Globe



Citrus Tahitian Lime






Dwarf Tahitian








Dwarf Goldmine

Dwarf Fantasia

Dwarf Crimson Baby

Dwarf Sunset


Olive Fruit





California Queen





Jumbo Kalamata


Washington Navel Orange Fruit





Washington Navel


Cara Cara

Dwarf Washington Navel


peach tree fruit






Golden Queen

Tropic Snow


Dwarf White Gold

Dwarf O’Henry

Dwarf Golden Queen


Nashi Kosui

Nashi Hosui

Nashi 20th Century




Bonza – Self -fertile


Plums Ripening on the Tree







Ruby Blood

Santa Rosa


Plumcott Dwarf

Satsuma Dwarf

Santa Rosa Dwarf

Mariposa Dwarf

Japanese Salad










Avocado Tree Maintenance – Pruning for fruit

Hass avocado tree

Pruning Avocado Trees

Jack’s been busy maintaining our little avocado orchard. These are 3 year old trees and now they’re all loaded with fruit. Here we have Hass Avocado trees. We have been tip pruning these all Summer for the scion wood, but we need to now prune some branches to allow sunlight in and to keep the fruit within easy reach, as fruit grows on new wood. Pruning also encourages multi-branches where the cut occurs, and this will provide us with even more fruit. Commercial Orchardists have been doing this as a way of increasing yields with great results.  They plant them closer together than previous and cut the tops to keep them from getting too high and unmanageable without the use of machinery. Almost like a big avocado hedge.