The soft colours of this template remind me of Australian native plants, which I love. It's partly patriotism: our flora is completely different to that of other places. Joseph Banks was so excited by it that he persuaded Captain Cook to rename 'Stingray Bay' to 'Botany Bay' -- and that's where I grew up, not that there was much left of the native flora by then.
Our plants are very good at giving us a sense of place. Sydneysiders are home when they see the salmon-coloured trunks of Angophora costata, for example, and an Australian can be moved to tears by finding a gum-tree in a foreign land. To plant native plants is an expression of love for a beautiful country.
People can be a bit foolish about native plants, though. A Banksia coccinea is an Australian plant, but it comes from the sandy soils and dry climate of Western Australia. It will not cope with the humidity and clay in my Sydney garden, and why should it? It is 4000km from home! By natives, I mean the local flora, which has evolved to suit the local conditions. If you can find out what your natives are, you instantly have a group of plants that you know will cope in your garden with very little attention. In fact, the lack of cosseting required can sometimes be surprising. I planted out a large native garden bed two weeks before water restrictions commenced in spring 2003. Once restrictions commenced, I ceased all artificial watering to that bed because I had to focus my efforts on the vegie patch. In the next six months, I didn't lose a single native plant. It is painful to remember the deaths and poor yields in the vegie patch during the same period.
Most Australian native plants have evolved to deal with difficult conditions -- drought, flood and fire. The rambunctious games of The Twig and The Sprig do not disturb my native plants at all, nor do my chooks. My vegetable patch, on the other hand, is fenced off!
Don't forget that native plants also provide habitat and food sources for native fauna. If you are lucky you could tempt rare birds, insects or even frogs into your garden this way. But how do you find your native plants?
Councils and public libraries sometimes have lists of local flora (some councils even propagate their own plants, which they then pass on to local residents for a nominal fee). Heritage sites and major parks in your area might also have such lists, as will local environmental groups like Greening Australia, Landcare and so on. Your local branch of ASGAP will also be a valuable resource. Tracking down the information is all part of the fun!