Many of us are turning our attentions to our gardens right now. But many new gardeners forget that they are not gardening alone. As organic gardeners, we are aided in what we do by many creatures that share our space. Attracting wildlife, and making a wildlife friendly garden is one of the top things we can do to ensure the sustainability of our growing efforts over time.
Why Attract Wildlife?
Wildlife helps us in our gardens in a wide range of different ways. For example:
- Insects and other creatures help us by pollinating many of our plants.
- Predatory species eat pests that plague us. (Such as slugs, or aphids, for instance.)
- Creatures are part of nature’s cycles, and naturally help to fertilise our gardens.
- Don’t forget the creatures we don’t necessarily see. Soil life helps aerate the soil, decompose vegetative matter and move water and nutrients around.
How to Attract Wildlife
Here are my top tips for attracting beneficial wildlife in your garden:
- Plant for wildlife. For example, plant plenty of perennials such as trees and shrubs to provide habitat, shelter and food for a wide range of species. Sow wildflower species and other flowering plants to provide nectar for pollinators and other beneficial insects all year round. The more variety you have in your garden, the better.
- Create diverse habitats. Create great habitats for wildlife through your planting, and by creating wildlife friendly features like wildlife ponds, brush piles, wildflower meadows instead of basic lawns etc..
- Attract birds and other wildlife with planting, habitat creation, and by adding other features like bird feeders, nesting boxes, bat boxes, bee and bug hotels etc..
How To Protect Wildlife in Your Garden
Attracting wildlife is only one part of the picture. It is, of course, also important to protect wildlife once it arrives. To protect garden wildlife:
- Garden organically at all times. Never use harmful pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers.
- Don’t be too tidy – leave wilder corners to allow wildlife to thrive.
- Move away from mowing (or at least mow less).
- Implement a ‘no dig’ gardening plan to protect the soil ecosystem.
Remember, you are not alone. Share your space and as a gardener, you will quickly begin to reap the rewards.