What type of mulch could I use?

We have a rectangular garden bed that is about 9 by 6 metres and we are planning to have it like a cottage garden (camelia, roses, annuals, bulbs etc)

I was thinking about mulching it with bark chips and I dont want to have to replace the mulch often. I dont want fine bark chips as birds would scatter them everywhere

Any other ideas?

I need mulch that lets water through and doesn’t make the ground loose much water.

This is Australia were talking about!

If you use mulch from plant or animal material ensure it is suitable for the camelia and/or any other plants such as rhododendrons or azaleas which require ericaceous (acidic) conditions to grow. I would use bark it is easy to do and the plants stand out against it and is perfect for your Camelia. If you do use bark use the bagged stuff from your local garden centre/nursery. It is treated with fungicide. The wood chips from your friendly tree surgeon will attract unsightly fungi.
You should only have to do it once a year or maybe 2 years.
Gravel/stones are ok but look less attractive when algae starts to build up.

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