How to create a wildlife friendly garden
As we all know, gardens come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes ranging from those that cover many acres to window boxes on the railing of a front porch or high-rise balcony. Today we’re going to examine how to turn your garden of any size, type or bent, into one that is a bit more wildlife-friendly by following a few simple tips. All the comforts of the garden for human use, such as your garden table and chairs, can be retained and the result will be a beautiful and natural garden that is a welcome habitat to a range of animals and insects as well as being a joy to view.
What is a wildlife-friendly garden?
A wildlife-friendly garden is much more than simply a garden that has gone wild (surprise!). In many ways, a wildlife garden has much in common with a nature reserve.
Wildlife-friendly gardens, also known as habitat gardens, feature particular flowers, trees, shrubs and other plants, along with water features and coverage areas that encourage the local wildlife to visit and settle down, but also entices the migratory birds and butterflies to stop by. A variety of examples can be found here.
How to encourage wildlife into the garden
All wildlife species require several basic things to sustain them: food, water, shelter and a safe environment in which to breed. Obvious right? Well, sometimes this things sound easier to supply than they are. Here’s some details on getting this down well:
- --Established gardens solve the problem of what to grow where, and it is best to work with what is already there. Pruning and removal of unnecessary debris should be kept to a minimum and done over several seasons so that any current wildlife residents have time to adjust to the changes.
- --New gardens present an opportunity to explore the history of the land and recreate the native habitat that was once there. Local universities or nature societies may provide information about what types of plants and wildlife are native to the area.
- --Key habitats for a wildlife-friendly garden include the lawn; any trees, hedges or shrubbery, flowers and decorative grasses, and water. It is important to provide as many habitats as possible, so try to create microhabitats within the larger environment to avoid making the garden too crowded.
Many of the animals and insects that will be attracted to a wildlife-friendly garden are also beneficial predators of the “bad” insects and creatures that cause damage.
Birds quickly adapt to living in a garden year-round and play a significant role in controlling the population of grubs and bugs that can pillage a garden. Berry and fruit trees and shrubs, supplemented with seeds and suet blocks, will attract and keep a wide variety of birds around and birdhouses, climbing vines and hedgerows will keep them in residence for generations.
A wide variety of insects, the “good” bugs, eat large amounts of the bothersome pests such as aphids. These beneficial insects include rove beetles, tiger beetles, lacewings, ladybugs, praying mantises, and parasitic flies and wasps. Bees are another important insect that is vital to the pollination of the flowers and plants in the garden and the future of the garden itself. While not insects, butterflies and moths also do their share of pollinating. For all of these creatures, it is important to cultivate a selection of flowering plants that continuously flower throughout the season and are therefore high in nectar and pollen. The selection of plants may include native plants as well as non-hybridized perennials and herbs.
For more information on enhancing your garden to be more amenable to wildlife, check these out:
• http://warnell.forestry.uga.edu/service/library/index.php3?docID=313&docHistory%5B%5D=13&docHistory%5B%5D=286&docHistory%5B%5D=290 – Learn how to turn a frog pond into your wildlife sanctuary
• http://edu.udym.com/gardening-tips-creating-a-wildlife-garden/ - get more basics on creating a wildlife garden.