Whether you live in the city or the countryside if you have a garden, that garden can become a haven for wildlife. Increasingly we are becoming concerned with the ecology of our planet as environmental changes and the decline of species like the bumble bee are becoming more and more worrying. This article provides you with a guide to encouraging wildlife in your garden and will help you transform your garden into an ecological oasis.
The greater the number of plant species in your garden, the greater variety of wildlife which will be encouraged. As your garden will support local wildlife it is important to see what sort of plant would thrive in your local environment. If you have alkaline soil, plant plants which like that type of soil as it is likely the local insects and animals will also like that type of plant. If you are concerned about the aesthetics of your garden why not plant the less attractive yet locally suitable plants in areas which are less visible, such as planting a climber on the side wall of your garage. This would also fill the vertical space in your garden which allows you to grow a greater variety of plants than if you were just growing plants flat in your flowerbeds.
Some bird boxes are designed to attract a particular species of bird, so before you purchase your bird box you need to decide whether you want to encourage a variety of birds or if you would like to help conserve a particular species. Bird boxes will not necessarily be inhabited by birds as soon as you put them up so it is worth being patient and persevering. Bird boxes are particularly necessary in the winter months as they can provide birds with much needed shelter.
According to the RSPB, the daisy family are particularly good for encouraging wildlife. Daisies and dandelions are often some of the first plants we get rid of in our gardens, either by weeding or mowing the lawn; however, if you set aside a small area where they can grow freely this would be beneficial to the wildlife in your garden. This is because the Asteraceae family are great at either attracting insects for nectar or producing seeds which will attract small mammals.
Hanging up a bird feeder or introducing a bird table to your garden can really help your local bird population. You should avoid using nylon mesh for your bird feeder as birds can become trapped; instead use a wire feeder which has quite generous spaces through which the birds can access the nuts and seeds. Fat feeders are especially good in winter and can easily be made at home. Simply put fat into a holder and either leave plain or push nuts and seeds into the fat for added nutrition. Another simple homemade bird feeder is achieved by cutting a coconut in half and hanging it from a tree.
John Barlow works for Artscape, a company that specialises in garden design in Berkshire. He loves to use vintage items and reclaimed furniture in his garden design.