Gardening for Wildlife...
By Plant for Life. Encouraging butterflies, birds and other wildlife into the garden is a joy in its own right and goes a long way to protect the survival of many creatures within our environment.
Plants for Wildlife Gardens
Many groups are suitable, for example shrubs and trees provide nesting sites for birds. Nectar from flowers feeds insects, food from berries and other fruits supports birds and small animals. Roses offer nectar and seeds in the form of hips as well as providing protective cover. Also try Pyracantha, Cotoneaster, Holly (provide Autumn and Winter berries), Sedums, Michaelmas Daisies, Scabious (provide nectar to insects and give colour in the garden), all have wildlife attracting flowers
Plants such as Teasels, Sunflowers and Grasses offer seed heads for food, whilst Oak, Ash and Pine provide fruits in large numbers for small animals. In fact most plants have something to attract and sustain a wildlife population.
As a general rule, night-flying moths are attracted to white flowers, butterflies to blues and pinks, and hoverflies to yellows.
The introduction of a garden pond will aid the establishment of tadpoles, frogs and toads, and will encourage water insects such as dragonflies and waterboatmen.
Growing Ornamental Wild Flowers
Many ornamental wild flowers can be raised from seed but buy the seed and plants from a nursery - never take them from the wild. Oxeye Daisies, Primroses, Cowslips, Poppies and Willow Herb are good examples.
Mixed or one species using Crataegus (Thorn), Corylus (Hazel), Ilex (Holly) or Fagus (Beech) provide nectar from their flowers, followed by fruit, nuts etc. They also provide protected nesting environment for birds.
Allow your grass to grow longer with only the pathways mown close so that food and cover is provided for many creatures.
Food Sources for Your Wildlife
Compost heaps seeth with insects, worms, mites and other small creatures, thus providing a valuable food source for birds and animals as well as assisting the composting process.
Seed-eating birds will appreciate any flowers that have been left to produce seed. A pile of dead wood will provide overwintering sites for all sorts of small creatures. Try to avoid using pesticides and weedkillers as these are natural enemies, so where possible use biological control.
Looking after your Wildlife
Once a collection of wildlife is established, give further help by providing nesting boxes for birds and providing additional winter foods for birds and animals. The joy of having your own colony of butterflies, frogs and even hedgehogs adds an additional element of attraction, whilst supporting wildlife that development is destroying.