Isn’t it lovely to look out of your kitchen window and see the birds twittering in the trees, as butterflies rest on the leaves below and the ants march in procession along the patio in search of their next meal?
If you can’t see much wildlife in your garden, there are small changes you can make that will not only attract them but will also help them to both survive and thrive- just by providing them with support and a safe haven!
Plus, in return for helping them, they will help you (or at least you garden) by keeping pest numbers to a minimum and ensuring the ecosystem remains in balance.
Provide a source of food …
Food isn’t always easy to come by for wildlife, particularly in the winter months or when they are trying to feed themselves and their babies. So, add a bird feeder to your garden that you can stashed with nuts, and consider adding a bird table too. They’re perfect for kitchen scraps such as leftover bread!Just make sure you keep bird tables and surrounding areas clean and free from droppings or mould, as this can be a breeding ground for parasites and bacteria.
Bird feeders can be hung from walls, fences and trees or even staked into the ground like this one. The more feeders you have the more birds you will attract – spread them around the garden, including next to the window, so you can watch them from the comfort and warmth of your home.
As well as food, garden wildlife need a source of fresh water so they can drink and bathe. This could simply mean adding a birdbath or water feature to your garden. You may also want to consider adding a pond – this will attract all kinds of creatures that your garden may otherwise not have seen.
… and shelter
A birdbox or two will provide plenty of shelter for several winged creatures – ideal for the harsh conditions of the winter and a safe place for chicks in the spring. Just make sure you place it at least 2 to 5 metres above the ground to keep them safe from predators.
Choose plants with wildlife in mind
Next time you are at the garden centre, instead of choosing the plant that is the prettiest or the most colouful, why not pick the plant that will be most beneficial to your garden creatures? Taller flowers will attract flying friends such as bees and dragonflies, wall climbers can provide links between gardens for pollinators,and hedgerows (such as holly) provide essential cover and corridors for small mammals.
Make your own compost
Either invest in a compost bin or simply create a compost heap. This is a great use of raw food waste and the worms will do the hard work for you! It is also a warm home for reptiles and an ideal source of nutrition for your garden.
Leave part of your garden untouched!
This is the easiest thing you can do because…well… you don’t actually have to do anything!This gives wildlife a safe place, away from human influences. You may want to include rocks, bricks, logs and twigs for shelter. Plus, the longer grass is essential for egg-laying insects.
Attracting wildlife is as simple as hanging a bird feeder from the tree and filling it with nuts – but the more you do, the more you will attract. Before you know it your garden will be alive with creatures large and small!