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Wantirna South Garden

Gardens for Wildlife (G4W) logo

From Lawn to Wildlife Oasis! Phil and Mandy Laukens have been Gardens for Wildlife participants and volunteers since 2007 and have implemented every aspect of a wildlife garden into their property.

"When I purchased my first home I gave no thought to the garden as I had never gardened before and only gave a little thought about how nice it would be to have a lawn to play on. After checking out the house I went outside and it dawned on me that every shrub and every tree on the property was mine. I was proud that I was now the custodian of shrubs, trees and a quite a bit of lawn.

Being totally ignorant of gardening I first watered plants by wetting the leaves thinking this was how the plants drank.

After some time I decided to add to the existing plants and chose plants that looked nice. I gave no thought to whether they were Australian or introduced plants, whether they were food for wildlife or could provide shelter. The concept of weeds meant nothing to me. I even admired my Agapanthus though I did notice that they harboured a lot of snails.

My next phase of development was to try and attract birds so I chose showy hybrid grevillea’s which brought beautiful large birds but I didn’t realise at the time that these kept the smaller birds away. I also laid out bird seed which further attracted these bolder birds.

When I moved to my next house I removed numerous conifers, added some natives and had my garden assessed by Gardens for Wildlife. I admit the mantra about a recipe for wildlife didn’t register at the time. Only when I looked at the written assessment and saw what was required to bring my garden up from a category 3 to a category 1, did I realise what a garden could become. Firstly getting rid of the identified weeds was hard as I had a large Hakea Salicifolia that did an excellent job of shading the cubby house.

Now I have a good feeling knowing that I don’t have any declared weeds in my garden.

I then set out to enhance my garden by including the things that were missing. I put in a frog pond which attracted local frogs, prickly plants which brought in the smaller birds, a cat proof birdbath, a lizard area, grasses and quite a few trees.

What I noticed was that we were getting more insects, some butterflies and a greater variety of birds.

Now I understand the importance of the Gardens for Wildlife recipe and that everything is somehow related. I no longer have a dead looking front lawn in summer, I have a true nature strip and not just a mowing strip. My garden is now mostly native with a few indigenous plants and a couple of natural looking bush paths to wander along.

Each day in the garden, whether I’m just sitting in the shade or adding a new plant, I’m continually discovering new wildlife. For me it’s a win/win scenario in that the environment benefits and I benefit from the diversity of wildlife now in my garden."

Click on the images below for a larger view.

Letterbox with G4W sticker
Gardens for Wildlife
Frog Pond
Frog Pond
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