Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Wildlife Friendly Gardening

by Pippa Greenwood

There’s no doubt that having wildlife in and around your garden will add an extra and very appealing dimension, literally bringing your garden to life. Here’s how to make your garden an appealing visiting spot.


Provide a bath for birds to use when they need a drink or to bathe. Shallow water works well but it will need changing and replenishing frequently, especially in hot weather. Make sure that you install it somewhere that is well out of reach of local cats and other predators.

Bees and Insects

Attract bees and other insects by growing flowers rich in pollen and nectar. Perennial plants are great, but don’t discount flowering annuals, shrubs, and trees, too. Simple shaped (non-double) flowers are best, especially those with open centres.


Butterflies need somewhere to lay their eggs. Nettles are widely used as a good plant on which the caterpillars of some butterflies can grow and develop. If your garden is quite big then try to spare a corner to allow nettles and other ‘wild’ plants to thrive.

If you don’t like the idea of having nettles in your flowerbeds, then plant some into flowerpots and plunge these in a sunny spot near your beds and borders—this way you’ll give the butterflies the plant but won’t risk the nettles spreading.

Frogs and Toads

Ground-living wildlife, such as some of the insects, frogs, toads and hedgehogs to name a few, needs to be able to move safely within a garden and also from one garden to the next.

Try to arrange some of your planting so that they can safely scuttle from one place to the next, protected by the plants’ foliage and stems.

Water Babies

Install a pond or even just a simple water feature and you’ll be amazed by the amount of wildlife it attracts. Dragonflies, damselflies, other insects, plenty of birds and other animals will use the pond or feature as a drinking place.

If you can manage to squeeze in a wildlife pond then you’ll also be providing potential breeding and feeding places too.

Berried Treasure

Plant some shrubs that produce tasty berries or hips later in the year. Autumn fruiting plants, especially those whose fruits last into the winter, provide a vital source of food for many animals, especially birds. Wild roses, pyracanthas and crab apples all make great garden plants that also provide a useful food source.

But Don’t Do This…

Don’t buy any more garden chemicals: they may seem to provide an easy and quick solution to your garden problems, but most end up endangering beneficial or harmless insects as well as the ones that you are trying to control.

Wipe out the beneficial insects and you’ll not only reduce the interest in your garden, but you may also be killing some of the insects that have the potential to be your allies, as they would normally help to control the pests.

Pippa Greenwood
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