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  • Magpie Hill
  • Climate-ready edible micro-forest
  • Downer micro-forest
  • Downer residential micro-forest
  • Lyneham micro-forest
  • Birdscaping #CBR, O’Connor


THIS PROJECT IS ON HOLD due to coronavirus.

Our concept is to create a display of edible climate-ready plants in wicking beds in Braddon. Native and exotic species are mixed together to provide food, shade and thrive with hotter, drier weather and extreme cold.

This project is funded through the City Grants program managed by the City Renewal Authority. The grants are funded through the City Centre Marketing and Improvements Levy – paid by commercial land owners in the city centre.

Trees, shrubs and groundcovers are planted in potting mix in the wicking beds to give them all the nutrients they need during their first six months.

Original concept sketch for edible micro-forest in Braddon. Edible trees, shrubs and groundcovers are planted into Biofilta wicking beds also known as ‘Foodcubes’. Each wicking bed stores 110 litres of water, reducing the need for supplementary watering in hot weather. Seats provide a place to stop and linger and relax amongst the greenery.

The wicking beds are made of recycled food grade plastic and each 1m x 1m square module has the capacity to hold 110 litres of water at the roots where it’s needed most.

This reduces the amount of time spent maintaining displays which use small pots that require individual hand watering in order for them to look good.

Plant species used and other sustainability tips will be featured here.

In addition to the climate-sensitive micro-forest display we will run two seminars on ‘Edible gardening in pots’. This will be a great workshop for people living in apartments and townhouses.

We have partnered with Biofilta and Formboss to deliver the wicking beds and make the coreten steel surrounds.

20 February 2020



THIS PROJECT IS ON HOLD due to coronavirus.

The Climate Factory partnered with the Downer Community Park Group to transform the Cole St park into an enhanced neighbourhood park. Using crowd funding, 189 supporters pledged more than $20,000 towards installing a micro-forest of native, climate-ready and fire-ready plants in the park and a Landscape Sketch Plan to provide a blueprint for the future.

The Downer volunteer group successfully applied for additional funding through the ACT Government Adopt-a-Park program.

You can DONATE to the Downer project by direct deposit:

The Climate Factory
BSB 313 140
Account No 12214509

Type ‘Downer’ into description field and your surname.

Neighbours adjoining the park and the broader Downer community were invited to a planning session about the park’s future in December 2019. Participants voted on the most important features they wanted to see included in a Landscape Sketch Plan. These were: water harvesting, habitat provision and nature-based play areas.

Below is the Preliminary Landscape Sketch Plan showing the arrangement of open and densely planted spaces in the centre of the park. The existing mounds are reconfigured to include water harvesting trenches and a low lying area (maximum depth 150mm) planted with wetland plants that can cope with wetting and drying.

Trees for the forest are chosen based on a number of characteristics, including:

  • climate readiness – trees that cope with extreme heat, extreme cold and drought conditions
  • low flammability
  • longevity
  • shade provision.

We will trial a diverse array of trees from different plant families and genuses to ensure the forest is resilient to changes in the future.

Opportunities are provided for nature play – to make structures, balance on logs and timber rounds, explore the bog area and run over the mounds.

More information on nature based play in Canberra can be found here.

Participants also agreed that the design should take into account summer sun and winter shade needs as well as sustainable material use.

A copy of the report is available here as a pdf.

Article February 2020 RiotACT

A big thanks to our sponsors, Service One, a 100% community owned bank who kicked off the crowd funding campaign with $5000. Local businesses, Light House Architecture and Science and Federation Financial become Gold Sponsors and donated $1000 each.

Our Silver Sponsors, Bluebell 2509 and Tim Smith pledged $500 towards the project .

The following individuals and businesses pledged $200 to make the project happen.

The Tree Man
The Happy Apostrophe
Katherine Horak
Suzanne Moulis
Robbie Kruger
Baily Hepple
Malcolm Leslie
Alastair Crombie
Bernadette Law
Hannah Louise Landscapes



ACT Goverment Arborist, Jeffrey Albrecht and ecologist Sarah Sharp visited Magpie Hill in February 2020 to check out the health of the landscape.

The Lyneham Community Association engaged The Climate Factory to create a Landscape Sketch Plan to reinvigorate Magpie Hill park on Wattle St, Lyneham. Magpie Hill is a 2.9 hectare ridge of native trees with a playground bounded by Wattle, Lambert and Mackennal Streets, Lyneham. The park has minimal infrastructure. This work is sponsored through the ACT Government Adopt-a-park grant funding.

Below is the Site Appraisal showing the opportunities to improve the park on a limited budget. The community has identified some key focus areas – habitat, social spaces and water harvesting.

These plans reinstate the ‘picnic’ space with its outlook to Mt Majura and over Lyneham and link the picnic space to the playground atop the hill. New understorey plantings (along with a water harvesting trench) occur in this area. Plants will be chosen from a range of structural layers to provide habitat for birds, skinks and pollinators. Trees will be chosen that can cope with hotter, drier summers.

The plan recommends sectioning off swathes of native grasses and native flowers to protect them from mowers. Also noted are significant bare areas that should be revegetated to reduce erosion and impact on local waterways. The desire line that cuts across Wattle and Lambert Streets is formalised with a path and erosion control measures.

Friends of Grasslands and community members have noted the need to control African Love Grass and Chilean Needle Grass on the site.

In February 2020, we met with ACT Government arborist, Jeff Albrecht and ecologist Sarah Sharp on site to examine the health of existing native trees. They noted the site includes a mix of remnant trees (some 100 years plus) and a number of planted trees. Woodland tree species include:

  • Eucalyptus blakelyi
    • Eucalyptus cinerea
    • Eucalyptus dives
    • Eucalyptus macrorhyncha
    • Eucalpytus mannifera
    • Eucalyptus melliodora
    • Eucalyptus pauciflora
    • Eucalyptus polyanthemos
    • Eucalyptus pulverulenta

Albrecht remarked that despite an extended drought, the overall quality of the trees is good. 

However, there is a lack of understorey vegetation due to drought, compaction and mowing regimes.  In the past, understorey plants like Bulbine bulbosa and Arthropodium (Chocolate Lilies) have been seen on site. On site there was evidence of Lomandra, Chrycocephalum and Cassinia.  

In early 2020, Friends of Grasslands surveyed the site and prepared the list below of native grasses and native flowers.

Below is a summary of the site visit to Magpie Hill.

The first community consultation was held in March 2020 and the second was held on site in June 2020. Below are reports documenting the outcomes of sessions 1 & 2.

This work has been funded through an ACT Government Adopt-a-Park grant and led by the Lyneham Community Association



We are working with the Molonglo Conservation Group to create a 1000 plant climate-ready micro-forest in Lyneham. We will run an on-line community consultation in May 2020.

This project is funded through Alicia Payne’s office.

Join the Sullivans Ck Micro-forest Facebook page here



Installing Canberra’s first micro-forest. Many of the trees we chose are suitable for a hotter, drier climate, like Kurrajong. Installation by The Climate Factory and Bluebell 2509.

We installed our first native micro-forest in October 2019 in a front garden in Downer opposite the Cole St Park. The garden already has many mature native plants but required infill planting.

With our client we planted 300 native plants over 120 square metres.

9 October 2019



In 2018, with the support of hundreds of volunteers, SEE-Change built the Birdscaping #CBR project. This was the first of it’s kind in urban Canberra, located on a rarely used piece of urban open space in O’Connor. The project was designed to attract small threatened native birds (like the Scarlet robin) and insects back into the suburbs. Despite record breaking temperatures in early 2019, the plants thrived.

A scout dad and his son help plant tubestock at Birdscaping CBR.

2000 native trees, shrubs, groundcovers and grasses were planted. Not only will these plants improve local biodiversity, the trees planted will absorb carbon as they grow and help cool the local environment. Hardwood logs were added to attract insects and the birds that prey on them. The logs also double as informal seats.

Insect hotels were added in September 2019.

This project was funded by an ACT Government Environment Grant.

Project value: $43,000
Project location: David St, O’Connor (opposite Turner Primary school)
Project partners: Greening Australia ACT