Biodiversity in your own backyard

A man standing in a garden

For someone who considers himself an avid amateur gardener, David Adams attracts some rare and exciting visitors to his Camberwell backyard.

Birds including thornbills, grey fantails, currawongs, rainbow lorikeets, and honey eaters such as eastern spinebills and wattlebirds come to enjoy the little native bush haven he has created in suburbia. 

A spotted pardalote, normally known to forage in eucalypt forests, was a recent visitor to David's garden.

“People lose sight of the simple joy that birds in the backyard can bring,” David says. “If you looked at my backyard on Google Earth, you’d see a little green oasis surrounded by roads and development, but the birds find their way here,” he says. 

In 2019, David took part in Council’s award-winning Backyard Biodiversity program, which teaches residents how to use native plants in their own backyards to create habitat ‘stepping stones’ for local wildlife. 

A few existing mature eucalypts, callistemons and a mulberry tree in David’s yard are now complemented by Indigenous wattles, banksias, correas and grasses grown from the tubestock plants he received as part of the program. 

David says the native plants tend to do better in his garden. One wattle now towers above him.

“I’ve discovered Indigenous gardens handle neglect well and the wildlife keeps coming. We’ve had an amazing number of dragonflies over the past few months.” 

His eyes have also been opened to the delicate ecosystem all around him, and the possibility of rebuilding habitat.

“The program exceeded my expectations. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and worthwhile,” David says. 

The 2022 Backyard Biodiversity program runs from late April to June and includes workshops, garden tours and Indigenous landscaping advice, as well as vouchers for native plants. 

Participation is free, but spaces are limited, so it’s essential to register your interest.

To find out more or to register, please email [email protected]

For more information, visit our Backyard Biodiversity project page or call (03) 9278 4083.