People of ReWild – Mandy

13th April, 2023

Our next People of ReWild feature is Mandy who, with partner Mike, have been building their native bush garden for the past 34 years with inspiring results.

What type of ReWild garden are you creating?

Bush garden

When and why did you start to ReWild your garden?

When we moved to our block 34 years ago, there were only weeds and no native shrubs or trees at all. We wanted to create a cool biodiverse environment for our family, that would provide habitat for as many native species as possible, as well as a healthy environment for us. We also wanted some fruit trees, chooks and veggies, so we have a mix of native plants and other plants we like and use.

What do you love most about your ReWild garden?

I love relaxing in the shade of the Marri and Peppermint trees we planted; watching the fence skinks, butterflies and native bees; hearing the black cockatoos and honeyeaters; hearing the cracking sounds of pardalotes picking lerps from our eucalypts, and watching them popping in and out of their nest box to feed their chicks – so much evidence of life!

What has been the main challenge in establishing a ReWild garden?

Choosing the right plants is the biggest challenge for us. Sometimes we see a beautiful plant in a nursery that we would love to grow, but if it comes from loamy, damp soil, we’ve learnt to leave it in the nursery! We have a small bog in our garden so we can fit a few plants with high water needs there – but generally our sandy soil means coastal plain plants grow best and our local animals love them!

Tell us about your garden’s guests – what wildlife have you seen in your garden, including any new species since you started?

When we started, our bird list was only pipits, magpies and ravens. We now have 18 species of birds that regularly visit or breed. These include Carnaby’s and Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, Grey Fantails and even Fairy Wrens. We have myriad invertebrates, including Blue-banded and other native bees, and even Peacock Spiders. Native orchids have self-seeded, and sometimes quenda visit us.

What are your top tips for someone starting a ReWild garden?

Don’t be afraid to start! Even if you only have a balcony, you can plant a native shrub or groundcover in a pot and also add fauna shelters. If you don’t have your own garden, find a forgotten corner near where you live or join a Friends’ Group at a local nature reserve. The ReWild website and community nurseries are a great source of local information. Choose plants that suit your soil for best results. Most of all – enjoy it!


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