How to Attract Wildlife in Your Garden – Part 2

by Allen Quay

in Sustainable

In Part 1 of ‘How to Attract Wildlife in Your Garden’ I gave you some simple things you can do to build a wildlife habitat in your outdoor space.

In this article, we’ll continue exploring ways to attract every ‘living’ thing from bugs and butterflies to small animals and birds. Attracting wildlife into your garden has never been more fun.

Plants and Flowers

Flower and perennial gardens full of nectar rich plants and flowers is a great way to attract bees, butterflies, moths and hover-flies to your garden. Nectar is a powerful sustenance for insects that provides them with energy and helps them feed up for winter hibernation. Be mindful of wildlife when selecting the plants for your garden and remember that different plants and flowers benefit different species, so a wide range of evergreens, seasonal plants, wildflowers and fruiting trees/bushes can help insects to thrive all year round.

Bees are particularly helpful insects as the pollination process can help your garden flourish year after year – so you help them and they help you. Bees love lavender, bluebells, fuchsia, foxglove and the single flowering rose family.

 

Rockeries and Log piles

Dark, damp, secluded spaces may not seem like the ideal habitat to us but for insects, invertebrates and mammals such as frogs, toads and hedgehogs they are great places to shelter. If you plan to build a rock/stone feature then try and leave some empty spaces beneath the rocks – you will find that toads and frogs love these dank spots when they are out of water.

A rotting log pile is also a great habitat for wildlife with Discover Wildlife indicating that over 900 species of invertebrates can usually be found living on dead or dying wood. Because decaying wood provides such a supportive environment for insects (such as worms, millipedes, earwigs) and fungi, larger predators will also be attracted to the area.

Wood chippings can also act as a mulch to promote fertilization in flower beds and can be used on top of your log pile to help speed up decomposition.

 

Feeders and Boxes

small-wooden-birdhouse-hanging-from-tree-branchFor birds and larger mammals such as bats and hedgehogs, sometimes you need to go a stage further in inviting them into your garden by buying feeders, bird tables and nesting boxes. Despite all of your efforts, winter can be a difficult time for birds with limited food supply and nesting quarters. Providing feeders and bird tables will entice them to your garden at this miserable time of year.

Bird boxes will also give them somewhere secure to nest and raise their broods. Before you make a purchase, just ask yourself how committed you are to having a garden overtaken by birds though – the BTO suggest that birds often like to use boxes that they have nested in before, so you may find you have the same visitors again and again.

Don’t forget the lesser seen mammals either. Bats need somewhere to roost and hedgehogs, who usually come out at night, will be attracted by a log pile habitat and some pet food to help supplement their diet of beetles, slugs and earthworms. During the hotter months a shallow bowl of water will also be of huge benefit to them.

I hope you have enjoyed these two articles as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I know that I couldn’t cover everything there is to know about how to attract wildlife to your garden. Perhaps you could mention something I may have missed by leaving a comment below!

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