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Irene's Garden - Transcript

My name is Irene Kelly, and I’m a member of the Gardens for Wildlife Program. The Gardens for Wildlife Program has really contributed to my health and wellbeing in such a number of ways - it’s just a wonderful Program. And what I’ve found is, as I’ve become more involved in wanting to do something about preserving indigenous species, knowing that other people are so very prepared to do that, has been an enormous boost to my own enthusiasm. The social connection to my city has been made so much stronger by being a part of the Gardens for Wildlife Program. I just feel that the whole fabric that the Gardens for Wildlife Program has brought to our city allows me to believe that I have still got neighbours - but they’re dotted all over Knox. The people who are participating in the Program from the community are the ones that are prepared to ‘garden for wildlife’ on their property, but to do it for the benefit of the whole of the community.

My own experience was - I have run a project in my street. And one day when I was doing an assessment for Gardens for Wildlife in our street, I saw that one of the participants had the Eastern Spinebill visiting – a really cute little bird and I’d love to have it in my garden. So I thought of a way that if I invited the neighbours – there’s 100 in my section of the street - to actually plant some species in the garden that might attract that little Eastern Spinebill, selfishly, I might build a corridor to my place. We issued 100 invitations to people in the street, we spoke to 11 personally (it took a couple of hours so we were exhausted) and they immediately agreed to do it. Then we just letterbox dropped the other people in the street and, out of the 100 people, we got 30 people who were prepared to plant a prickly thicket for small birds – it was two prickly shrubs and a Correa reflexa, that has a beautiful little tubular flower and that flower is sort of integral to the bush so the little bird can go inside the bush and feed without being driven off. So that was an amazing experience to me.

So corridors for wildlife can be about the plants as well and that’s really where my passion lies. Now you might want to probably know – did I get the Eastern Spinebill? Well, my Mum who was almost blind saw it, my husband’s seen it, but I’ve not ever seen it in the garden. Everyone’s seen it...I want to see it!

Every day there’s such promise in the garden for things to come and I just enjoy that excitement; the looking forward to it...I do...and the smell...and the sounds...all of that.

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