Free advice to help you create a garden for wildlife

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Anyone looking for free gardening advice that will not only make their backyard look amazing, but help provide a haven for local wildlife, is encouraged to come along to the Gardens for Wildlife launch event for 2024.

The event on Saturday February 10 from 10am-11am will take the form of a garden tour at James Swan Reserve on Raglan Parade - a lovely park home to a wide variety of native plants.

You can also register to have a pair of Gardens for Wildlife volunteers visit your home and offer suggestions on plants that will grow well and provide habitat for an array of native creatures like birds, frogs and lizards.

Warrnambool Mayor Cr Ben Blain said that Council introduced the program to combine people’s desire to create beautiful backyards with a goal of helping local fauna.

“To have a couple of passionate gardeners come and visit you to give you tailored advice as to what would grow well in your yard and provide the type of garden that you want, it’s such a great opportunity, and it’s free,” he said.

“The great thing about indigenous plants is that they are conditioned to grow well in our local environment and soil, so there’s a lot less watering and maintenance compared to other plants.

“And of course, attracting wildlife is great for us as humans who like to spend time in nature, but creating more habitat for native creatures is so beneficial too, and it helps them to avoid predators and really thrive.”

Gardens for Wildlife volunteer Karen Wales said that volunteers worked with what was in people’s backyards already, with ideas proposed in stages for people to work on over time.

“So we basically come to your place and talk to you about what you want, what you are trying to achieve, what do you want to attract to your garden, and then we try and give you some ideas of what might work,” she said.

“We wander around your garden with you, and then we go away and put together a report and send it back to you with some really good information on what you could do.

“We do every size of garden and every stage. Some people have already made a great start, and they've got a lot of things there, but they're just wondering what else they can do.

“Other people just go, ‘I've just moved in. I've really got no idea what to do.’”

Ms Wales also said that anyone looking to join the volunteering team would be welcome.

“I think if you want to volunteer to be a garden advisor, having a passion for gardens and wildlife helps, but you don't have to know lots about gardening,” she said.

“You always get paired up with someone who’s got good experience if you're new to it, and you can go and learn.”

If you aren’t able to attend the event but would like to find out more about becoming a garden advisor or booking a free garden assessment, visit www.warrnambool.vic.gov.au/gardens-wildlife