Gardens for Wildlife

bird on nest

Do you love the flash of colour birds bring to your garden? Or is it the croaky call of frogs that brings you joy? Gardens for Wildlife is here to help! Gardens for Wildlife is a partnership program between volunteer Garden Guides and Whitehorse Council.

The aim of the program is to help ordinary garden owners to improve the habitat values of their patch. Gardens with good habitat provide a home for birds, mammals, skinks and insects or support them while they are moving through. You may find the addition of a few shrubs attracts bird species you’ve never seen in your garden before. Or you may find that the even in the middle of suburbia you can attract frogs with a well-planted water feature.

Wildflowers may attract any number of beetle or butterfly species that can define a change in the seasons. Simple changes can be very effective in supporting the biodiversity of your suburb and if your neighbours get involved too, the impact can be huge. Gardens for Wildlife gardens generally have a combination of plants and garden elements with animals in mind such as:

  • a tall flowering tree, native to the area
  • a patch of natural mulch for beetles and worms
  • a clump of dense shrubs where small birds can shelter and nest
  • nectar plants for honeyeaters
  • a cat-proof birdbath or shallow dish of water
  • a frog-friendly pond or bog
  • a sunny, sheltered corner for lizards with logs or rocks for hiding and basking
  • local daisies for butterflies and beetles.

Participants in the Gardens for Wildlife program receive a visit by two garden guides who learn about the history of the garden and suggest simple steps that could make it a friendlier, safer space for our native wildlife.

The participants also receive a personalised report about the garden visit, information about indigenous plants and a voucher for tube stock. Some gardens we visit are well established and some are blank slates. Often we hear that it’s small birds such Blue Wrens and Thornbills people remember seeing in the past that they are most keen to attract.

Encouraging insects that these birds rely on for food and also providing cover to make the birds feel safe, will assist this goal.

Gardens for Wildlife is a great way to get a fresh perspective on your patch of green and some useful ideas for the future. For more information: www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au/gardens-forwildlife

Monash, which has recently begun the Gardens for Wildlife Program, needs volunteers to become garden guides. Email sustainability@monash.vic.gov.au to register your interest.
If you live in Boroondara you can learn about the Backyard Biodiversity Project which has helped more than 400 households support local flora and fauna since 2010.

BELINDA MOODY