Local ecology

Glebe resident Judy Christie creates urban oasis for local wildlife

Following the City of Sydney's release of a free habitat creation guide, we drop in on a lush, wild garden, complete with native plants, trees and a frog pond.

Judy Christie

Why did you create a habitat garden?

It’s just something that’s evolved. You start planting things and you realise you’re attracting lots of nice butterflies and insects. You notice that different plants attract different animals and you’re getting frogs in your pond and you get a lot of pleasure from that.

You’re with nature and as I started observing what was happening in the garden, I gradually realised it was the wildness of it that gave me lots of pleasure and something different to enjoy every day.

Over the past 10 years as we’ve lost so much of our green space, it’s become more important to have these refuges for all sorts of native wildlife.

Why a frog pond?

It was the thing to do 20 years ago – we had a little group called FROGS, Friends of the Gully. There’s just the 1 species that we get here in Glebe, the striped marsh frog, but they’re resilient.

Hearing them at night, it gives you a real sense that you’re in nature. I grew up in the country and having those sounds of the bush are nice, a sense of still being part of nature even though you live in the city.

Striped marsh frog
Striped marsh frog

How are locals making a difference?

One little garden may not be able to change the nature of the urban landscape in our city, but together with neighbours you create little green corridors, and that connectivity is really important.

I think you can make a difference, give yourself real pleasure and improve your health and wellbeing.

Tell us about the joy your garden gives you

This little space makes me feel good. I’m mostly retired now and pottering around is healthy exercise in the open air.

One of the things I really like is the seasonality of a native garden.

In Sydney, we have a lot of plants that flower in winter, like wattle and pretty sandstone flowers, so even when it’s cool, you’ve got a bright garden. It’s important for our wildlife, like native bees, that need flowers all year round. And it’s fun!

You lead birdwatching walks and are a member of the local land care group. Do you think the City’s free habitat guide is a good idea?

I think it’s excellent. I’ve shown it to a few people already and everyone wants a copy. It’s easy to use and I’m delighted that it’s been created – I think it will support anyone vaguely interested in creating havens for wildlife.

I think councils have an important role in educating the community about these values.

Download the City of Sydney’s habitat creation guide. Copies are also available in our libraries and community centres.

Published 6 June 2019, updated 15 August 2019