Encouraging wildlife into your garden is a winner all-round. They can help out your garden plants and you would be doing a good deed for all those creatures in need of a home or food throughout the winter. Flying visitors such as birds, butterflies and bees are pretty to look at and help improve your garden’s production. Encourage hedgehogs, toads and frogs too – they act as fantastic pest control, reducing the need for pesticides.
Here’s what you can do to turn your garden in to a wildlife haven.
Bees are great to have around the garden. You want them in your garden to feast off your flowers to make them continue to pollinate and keep your garden looking spectacular. Bees love blue, purple and yellow flowers and plants so keep that in mind when planning your garden displays.
Here are some tips to keep bees doing their jobs as pollinators:
- Plant single flower plants as most double flowers make it difficult for the bees to get the pollen and nectar.
- Avoid using pesticides wherever possible.
- Provide water for pollinators using a shallow dish filled with stones/marbles and water to provide a safe water source.
Bee Friendly Plants
- Provide nest boxes/wooden houses for birds to nest in. (Place near trees or bushes so the birds can make a short flight to safety).
- Improve soil with well-rotted compost to introduce worms and slugs and other soil insects to provide food for birds.
- A simple bird bathe will give the birds somewhere to bathe as well as doubling as a water supply.
Bird Friendly Plants
You can plant different shrubs/trees/flowers that will either provide food for birds in the form of seeds, berries or nectar, give shelter and warmth under dense foliage or they will attract insects which birds and other wildlife can feed off.
Here are some of our top choices:
- Viburnum Opulus
Ladybugs are a great help in the garden for eliminating destructive and damaging crop pests like aphids, mites and scale. Here are some tips for attracting ladybugs to your garden:
- There are several pollen plants that attract ladybugs that tend to be yellow and white, such as Angelica, Cosmos and Fennel.
- Plant decoy plants what will attract aphids away from your desired bug free plants until the ladybugs remove them for you. Aphid attracting decoy plants could include: Early Cabbage, Marigold and Radish.
Ladybug Friendly Plants
Ladybugs eat two things: insect pests and pollen, and there are several pollen plants that ladybugs like, including:
Did you know that attracting bats to your garden is one of the safest and most efficient methods for natural insect control? One little brown bat can eat 1,200 insects per hour!
A great bat attracting method is to build a bat house to provide a warm cosy shelter for the creatures. Since bats tend to set up colonies in the early spring, building a bat house is the perfect winter project! Some tips are:
- Use a rough, nontoxic wood (such as plywood or cedar) to make your box. The rough surface will make it easier for bats to climb in and out of the house.
- Place in a warm, sunny position for warmth
- Keep it close to a freshwater source (pond, stream)
- Support on a pole or the side of a building
Bat Friendly Plants
The key to attracting bats to your garden is to plant night-scented flowers, such as:
- Evening Primrose
Attracting frogs to your garden is beneficial for the welfare of your plants. Frogs make great inset killers so why not attract some garden frogs to help with those little pests.
- Build toad houses – overturned flowerpots buried lightly in the soil make great shelters.
- Avoid using pesticides in your garden. Frogs are sensitive to chemicals so use natural sources of nutrients in your garden such as compost.
- Keep pets away from the part of the garden set up for attracting frogs.
Frog Friendly Plants
Toads and female frogs usually spend winter on land, under rockery stones (or in a log pile). Recommended rock plants are:
- Hardy Geraniums
Just like the shrew and the vole, the hedgehog is an insectivore with a voracious appetite. An adult hedgehog can eat up to 200 grams of insects per night, making the perfect pest controller in your garden. So, why not attract them to the garden with a few small tips and help these little creatures as their population has dropped in recent years. Here are some tips to draw these little creatures into your garden:
- Leave areas of the garden naturally unkempt with fallen leaves, twigs and dead vegetation, which they can use to build nests.
- Leave bowls of water out in the winter as hedgehogs drink lots of water. Top the water up regularly.
- Avoid using slug pellets as they are fatal for hedgehogs
Hedgehog Friendly Plants
Hedges provide a great habitat for hedgehogs as they provide free access between gardens, unlike walls and fences. Species with large deciduous leaves are great for hedgehogs collecting leaves for their nests. Here are some top picks: