Splendour in the Garden

On the blog today we chat to Angela from @splendour.inthe.garden about the amazing wildlife sanctuary she has created in her suburban backyard.


What sort of wildlife have you attracted?

I have managed to attract four different species of frogs into my yard including motorbike frogs, slender tree frogs, western banjo frogs and the moaning frogs. On frog watch I love finding the burrowing ones peaking out the sand. I have also been lucky enough to spot a brown collared goshawk and a pair of red capped parrots a couple of times. Birdcount week is so exciting now compared to when I first started and would go a whole 20mins without seeing a bird. I have a family of magpies starting to move in and have regular willy wagtails, new holland honeyeaters, singing honey eaters, doves, ravens and mudlarks.

One of the many resident motorbike frogs Ange has in her garden
Male willie wagtail munching on mosquitos

What inspired you to create a habitat garden?
I have always been interested in nature and the bush. When I first left highschool I studied conservation and land management for a couple of years, but I was so young and very much a party girl and always busy. It wasn’t until I bought my house that the inspiration really started. Growing up, I was always obsessed with frogs and then one day I spotted one in my grasstree of all places and thought right this is my chance to have a pet frog! Haha.
It didn’t take long for me to start turning down plans and not drinking on a Saturday night because I had gardening to do the next day. I rescued an old cast iron bathtub from landfill and created a pond, from there one thing lead to another. I spent whole Sundays digging up couch grass to create a native garden area and then a separate veggie patch area. Someone once told me to refer your backyard as a house and introduce different “rooms” and I love that concept.
My backyard has very much been my creative outlet. A whole lot of happy chaos. I would, however, be very happy to never have to dig a patch of couch grass out again. Mid last year, I opted for a bobcat to dig up the front yard. I love sitting and watching the birds, they are so cheeky and full of personality. Creating habitat and welcoming life in, is so much more than gardening. There is plenty of wonder and curiosity in everyday things that most people don’t slow down to notice. It’s exciting, it’s rewarding, it’s mindful, it’s patience, it’s appreciation and understanding. It really soothes the soul.

Ange's backyard before
Frog habitat before
Ange's backyard after
Frog habitat after
What are some handy tips you can offer our readers who want to attract wildlife to their gardens?
1. Don’t be afraid to experiment! There are so many do’s and don’ts out there but you really do learn the most from trial and error.
2. Use salvage yards and road side collection to find goodies, it really gets the creative juices flowing.
3. Tube stock is magical! It saves you money, is fast growing and grows a healthier plant as it establishes a stronger root system.
4. Build it (water holes,  hidey holes and food sources) and the wildlife will come.

5. Don’t forget to take time to sit and enjoy your hard work. Remember the jobs list is never finished!

Flower and vegetable garden
Just another day of paradise

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Lisa Edwards

Founding Director

Lisa Bio

Our Founder

Lisa is an Environmental Scientist who has worked for 20 years primarily managing Threatened Species and Communities in Western Australia. She has also helped manage the planting of 4.2 million trees in WA’s Wheatbelt to help tackle salinity, biodiversity loss and climate change. 

Her time at Western Power gave her a thorough understanding of our amazing biodiversity and urban ecology and it also inspired her to find ways to support what we have and help halt the decline.

Lisa started WA Loves Nature, a not for profit organisation, with Leanne Salter Jones, so that they could showcase our amazing urban biodiversity and inspire and educate people on ways to support it. To achieve this they developed urban nature trails that show existing biodiversity as well as highlight it through the use of street art, murals and sculpture. The trails are bought to life with the WA Loves Nature’s App that features augmented reality, videos and sound.

Their mission is to have a nature trail in all West Australian metropolitan areas and country towns.

Lisa’s key skills include:

  • Urban ecology and its management
  • Threatened species management
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Community education
  • Communication