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Wildlife Garden

How to attract wildlife into the garden

Attracting wildlife to the garden is becoming increasingly more important. As we go through a serious environmental crisis and see a stark reduction in the population of some animals, such as pollinators, which poses a threat not only from an ecological perspective, but also to our livelihoods, making sure that we can offer wildlife a refuge in our gardens amid the concrete jungle is something that everyone should aim for. And let me tell you, it is not a hard thing to do.

Providing animals with food, water and shelter is enough to transform your garden in a wildlife heaven. Some things that you can do to achieve that are:

  1. Plant trees and/or shrubs, preferably natives: These are very good sources of food and shelter for insects and birds and even to small mammals, especially the ones that provide flowers and fruits and berries. Good examples are Rowan trees, Hawthorns, Dog Roses and Guelder Rose.

2. Avoid being overly tidy: Not that you should have a messy garden, but leaving some pieces of wood to rotten, some fallen leaves, twigs and stones on the ground (maybe out of sight if you are a very tidy person!) provides food and shelter to a lot of species. If you wish, you can build or buy trendy bug hotels, which consists of nothing more than things like cones, twigs, stones etc. bundled up together in an aesthetic fashion.

I was pleased to see a stag beetle in my patio this summer (a sight that is becoming increasingly rarer!) after leaving pieces of wood (which I used to prop up plant pots that were on the ground) scattered around.

3. Create an area of wild meadow, prairie style planting and/or invest on “Plants for pollinators”: Giving your planting choices a thought can go a long way towards attracting wildlife into your garden. I have already mentioned the native trees and shrubs but having an area of wild meadow or prairie style planting not only creates shelter to a lot of species, including small mammals, but also provide nectar for pollinators. You can create your wild meadow area simply by letting a plot of grass grow wild or you can buy seed mixes and scatter them around an area. Another way of providing nectar for pollinators, is to choose plants that bear flowers containing a lot of nectar and for a long season, such as Lavenders and Verbenas. The RHS has a  good resource to help you choose such plants, which they call “Plants for Pollinators”.

4. Introduce water in your garden: This will not only serve as drinking source, but also as a habitat for animals such as toads. The ideal would be to build a wildlife pond – a pond with a shelf (a shallower area of the pond in at least one of its sides) to help the animals to get in and out of it. You can then let plants and animals colonise your pond or you can give it a kick-start by inserting basically four categories of plants: oxygenators that stay on the bottom, water plants that float (such as water lilies) and that emerge out of the water (such as irises) and marginal plants (such as flowering rush). If you don’t have a space for a pond, any small water containers will already be helpful to wildlife.

5. Finally, avoid the use of pesticides as much as you can! Most of these will have an effect not only on the pests that you are trying to get rid of, but also on wildlife in your garden such as pollinators. The next post in this blog will be dedicated to presenting cultural practices and organic alternatives to pesticides. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, have a look at this garden which I have designed with the purpose to be a wildlife heaven for some inspiration!

References:

1-Pinterest. (n.d.). Rowan Tree. [Image] Available at: https://hu.pinterest.com/pin/349451252307217677/?lp=true [Accessed 20 January 2021].

2-Pinterest. (n.d.). Hawthorn. [Image] Available at: https://hu.pinterest.com/pin/349451252307217677/?lp=true [Accessed 20 January 2021].

3- Pinterest. (n.d.). Dog Rose. [Image] Available at: https://hu.pinterest.com/pin/349451252307217677/?lp=true [Accessed 20 January 2021].

4-Pinterest. (n.d.). Guelder Rose. [Image] Available at: https://hu.pinterest.com/pin/349451252307217677/?lp=true [Accessed 20 January 2021].

5-Pinterest. (n.d.). Bug Hotel. [Image] Available at: https://hu.pinterest.com/pin/349451252307217677/?lp=true [Accessed 20 January 2021].

6-Pinterest. (n.d.). Wild Meadow. [Image] Available at: https://hu.pinterest.com/pin/349451252307217677/?lp=true [Accessed 20 January 2021].

7-Pinterest. (n.d.). Prairie Style Border. [Image] Available at: https://hu.pinterest.com/pin/349451252307217677/?lp=true [Accessed 20 January 2021].

8-Pinterest. (n.d.). Verbenas. [Image] Available at: https://hu.pinterest.com/pin/349451252307217677/?lp=true [Accessed 20 January 2021].

9-Pinterest. (n.d.). Wildlife Pond. [Image] Available at: https://hu.pinterest.com/pin/349451252307217677/?lp=true [Accessed 20 January 2021].

10-Pinterest. (n.d.). Small Water Container. [Image] Available at: https://hu.pinterest.com/pin/349451252307217677/?lp=true [Accessed 20 January 2021].

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