While it’s Djeran season in the South West and Marrul brings Gubinge to the North, it’s time to start planning how to get the best out of your garden. Now is the perfect time to enrich your backyard with WA’s unique waterwise blooms and flavours.

Today, most of our gardens rely on exotic species from overseas and tend to overlook our exclusive native options. But ‘bush tucker’ has sustained Aboriginal people for thousands of years and has adapted over this time to easily grow in our specific climate and soil.

Let’s take a walk together on country and explore the incredible riches of WA.

Getting back to our roots

You may not have heard of Youlk just yet, but this distinct root vegetable is becoming a rising star in the Australian supermarket scene. Also known as Ravensthorpe Radish, Youlk produces a sweet potato looking tuber. Delicious roasted, baked or raw in salads, this crisp native essential offers a tantalising flavour somewhere between a carrot and sweet eucalypt.

Harvesting Youlk requires digging around the base of the plant to expose the many tubers hiding in the soil. It’s best to grow this plant in the ground in full sun however a large pot will still yield homegrown native vegetables to get creative in the kitchen with!

Hand holding Youlk tubers
Youlk tubers - image courtesy of tuckerbush.com.au

Preserving a natural superfood

If you are based in the North West and looking for “a gift from the Dreamtime”, Gubinge has been a source of bush tucker and an antiseptic for thousands of years. Also referred to as the Kakadu Plum or Murunga, this miniature deciduous tree bears an abundant crop of plum-like fruit around May each year. Easy to harvest when soft and ripe, Gubinge has the highest recorded levels of vitamin C content in the world.

Enjoy this native superfood fresh, or slice and dice into jams, preserves, sauces and drinks. Being fibrous and sour it’s sure to add a zing to your morning juice!

Hands holding Kakadu plums
Kakadu plums

Don't judge a book by its cover

Often overlooked because of its unfortunate name, the Round Baby Pigface can usually be found rambling along coastal dunes. The very significant succulent has an extensive root system, which plays an important role as a soil stabiliser around our beaches.

Every part of this incredible plant is edible. Salty yet sweet fruits adorn the Pigface throughout the year. Fleshy, juicy leaves make for a great salt substitute and work wonders in salads. The succulent’s flowers give a burst of flavour and even the juice produced has aloe vera-like properties to soothe burns, bites and stings. Hardy, durable and easy to grow, the humble Round Baby Pigface is a must have addition for any WA backyard.

Round Baby Pigface edible plant
Round Baby Pigface

A taste of paradise

Imagine opening your windows to let the smell of chocolate waft into the room. The Chocolate Lily’s edible flowers will provide a bright pop of colour from August to February and a distinctive chocolate aroma to your garden. They are a perfect for adorning salads, cakes or biscuits. The lily’s juicy tubers however are the real star of the show. These are particularly delicious when lightly roasted and tossed in salt and butter.

Belonging to the asparagus family, tubers are ready to harvest from September and are best eaten young as they become bitter over time.

Chocolate lily edible plant
Chocolate Lily

Nature's pantry awaits you

Together, let’s bring bush tucker back into the mainstream. Not only do these plants provide local flavours but they are adapted to our harsh climate. By swapping out just one exotic plant for a native substitute, you become part of the greater movement toward cultural and ecological diversity.

Find out more about Australian native plants with edible fruits, nuts, shoots, leaves and roots.

Find out other tips and tricks to sustaining an attractive waterwise garden.