Activities for more time at home – inside and outside

By enewsletter Editor

Less time being out and about and more time at home to protect community health from COVID-19 is a chance to do some activities you might not usually have time for. Here are some ideas, both for individual members and for APS Groups to consider if you don’t want to clean the cupboards or the garage. There are also some websites to explore.

Outside in the fresh air

Cyathia cooperi on the side of the road
  • Plant some seeds and record their progress. If you have enough seed and space, get scientific and trial different mixes and treatments and record the results.
  • Observe changes in your garden over time by taking a photo each day of the same flower, plant or garden view.
  • Try to identify likely pollinators for some of your plants through careful observation of flowers.
  • Create a new garden area or feature, whatever you have been planning but not actually done. It could be a compost heap, new garden bed, vegie patch, a piece of artwork, bee or insect hotel, or garden furniture.
  • Running out of things to do in isolation? Get back in the garden with these ideas from 4 experts by Anthea Batsakis, The Conversation. A behavioural science expert, a botanist, an environment media expert and an entomologist suggest ways to connect with nature in your garden.

Inside at the computer


  • Organise all your plant photos – digital (or even hard copy), and try to ID the tricky ones.
  • Investigate online plant sales, remembering some nurseries and stock levels may be affected by drought or bushfires or future public health restrictions. See some nurseries here.
  • Explore websites on native plants – both new and old. See suggestions below.
  • Follow APS NSW on Instagram and check APS NSW on Facebook.
  • Join an Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) Study Group in your area of interest and share your experiences. There are 18 active groups to choose from including the new Australian Plants for Containers. There are many newsletters from both active and inactive groups to read. Details here.
  • Read back issues of your Australian Plants journal or Native Plants for NSW – hard copy or online.
  • Comment publicly on aspects of Australian native plants and the environment by sending letters to the editor, or commenting on online stories on newspaper sites or The Conversation website.
  • Write or record your history of involvement with native plants and/or APS NSW.
  • Participate in citizen science with these ideas by researchers from the University of Sydney: Citizen science: how you can contribute to coronavirus research without leaving the house.

Possible Group projects

  • Prepare a history of your Group, or update an existing written history. The history doesn’t need to be a long book. It could be a Powerpoint presentation based on photos with captions or a website, organised by year.
  • Develop resources on native plants in your local area such as plants for gardens, or rare or notable plants. Use the Growing Illawarra Natives website
    www.growingillawarranatives.org as a guide and adapt.
  • Prepare activities for when Group meetings resume such as writing a quiz with local questions or preparing a presentation about a holiday or your garden to give at a meeting.
    Prepare an index of your Group’s newsletters or review which plants are mentioned most often in your newsletters.
    Develop an anniversary issue of your Group newsletter by selecting representative articles from across the years, similar to the Australian Plants 60-year issue.


  • Write plant profiles or other resources to share on the APS NSW website.
  • Develop online courses in native plant identification or gardening with natives.
  • Some projects require more coordination than others, so check with your Group or the APS website coordinators Heather Miles or Simon Bastin through office@austplants.com.au.
Grevillea in local garden, image Heather Miles

Websites to explore

  • The Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) ANPSA website including plant profiles, Study Group newsletters and more.
  • Gardening with Angus website, by Angus Stewart. Sign up for a monthly email newsletter from Angus. Recent topics include Kangaroo paws, insects, and the March 2020 Newletter 57 Let’s garden.
  • Australian National Botanic Garden website, with botanical resources.
  • Plantnet, Royal Botanic Garden, with a page on each native species in NSW.
  • Sir Joseph Banks’ papers online archive at the State Library of NSW website.
  • Growing Illawarra Natives, with advice on choosing and growing native plants in the Illawarra region.

Websites maintained by member Brian Patterson at Ourimbah

The Conversation website publishes short articles every day by university researchers with “academic rigour, journalistic flair” on a range of topics including bushfire recovery and the environment in general:

Callisst4emon “Rocky Rambler, image Heather Miles

More digital and online resources

  • Download and explore a free app: Plants of South Eastern NSW by Betty Wood, with over 3,000 plants.
  • Join Native Plant ID on Facebook.

Peter Wauchope from Southern Tablelands suggests:

  • Facebook site being run by SA moderators for the entire continent (30,000 members): Australian Native Plant Enthusiasts forum and their sister group (newly formed 4,000+ members) that includes advertising of sales, personal and District Group: Australian native plant noticeboard & marketplace

Why not write a review of a website for the enewsletter or your Group newsletter?

Send suggestions or reviews of interesting websites and resources to explore to the enewsletter editor Rhonda Daniels at enewsletter@austplants.com.au