How to: Attract Wildlife to the Garden

butterfly on violet scabiosa
Wild butterfly on a violet scabiosa

By allocating just a little bit of time and space to your garden this Autumn, you can easily attract various wildlife to your garden all year around. For many people wildlife is a welcomed addition to the garden providing extra character and also the knowledge that they are doing their bit to help with British conservation.

Online now you will find many varieties of plants and shrubs which will help you along the way, by both attracting and providing food/shelter for various forms of wildlife. Composting and letting a few patches of your garden grow a little wild will help to encourage visitors (and what gardener needs to be told the virtues of compost!).

If you have the space grow trees and big shrubs. By devoting even the smallest part of your garden to attracting wildlife you can turn it into a paradise for beneficial birds, mammals and insects.

bird hanging under peanut birdfeeder (goldfinch)Birds

Birds are attracted to areas where they find both food and shelter. A good way of doing so in the autumn/winter is by planting up shrubs and trees which produce berries, such as Ilex (Holly), Pyracantha or Gaultheria. Not only will they produce valuable food but they also produce some much needed ornamental value in the Winter months. A bird table is also a fantastic way of enticing birds into a specific area of the garden. Ornamental grasses are also a popular way of making the garden appealing to seed eating birds.

Butterflies

They will visit most gardens, especially if they find plants in sunny or sheltered locations. The secret here is to make available nectar rich, fragrant flowers which are colourful and from which they feed.

Perennail strip for Blog pollinatoors
Lavender, Buddleia, Syringa, Forsythia and Echinacea are just a few fantastic garden favourites for attracting butterflies and all look great in the garden!

SquirrelSquirrels

Of course, they are fascinating wildlife to watch as they scurry around during the day. They feed off acorns, buds, nuts, berries and seeds. They will initially appear scared and frightened but with regular feeding they will soon feel at home in your garden. They are easily found around woodland areas, large trees, beech tress and are especially attracted to your bird feeders, although take caution as they can damage them over time.

Toads

Provide water and shelter for Toads! These are great for keeping unwanted pests at bay and if you have a pond or one nearby its likely you already have Frogs and Toads living nearby. (If you have a dog remember Toads will release skin secretions which are toxic to dogs).

 

Hedgehogs

A pile of old logs or bricks, some overgrown grass or turned over empty pots can all help with providing shelter for animals – Hedgehogs will happily take advantage of your hospitality and thank you by eating pesky slugs and snails – an ideal natural defender of you Hosta plants!


 

2 thoughts on “How to: Attract Wildlife to the Garden”

  1. Can you give me any information please,I bought a dwarf buddleia 3yrs ago for a container but it only flowered in its first year the past two yrs there has been growth but no flowers.

    1. Hi John,

      There can be a couple of reasons for this so I would check the following.

      Water – They need a lot however they shouldn’t sit in it as the roots will rot so double check they have enough drainage – especially if they are still in a pot.

      Sun – Full sun is good but at least partial sun is needed for a buddleia to thrive.

      Pruning – as your getting growth I’d guess it might be this one – You need to prune the bush back in early spring (before the new growth starts) which will allow new growth and encourage flowers. After pruning apply mulch and feed. There are some quite detailed instructions on the RHS website about pruning and Buddleias belong to Pruning Group 6 – they even have a video which you can find here – https://www.rhs.org.uk/videos/advice/summer-shrub-pruning

      Hope one of those things helps!

      If your already doing all the above its worth checking the plant over in case its got a pest/disease problem.

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