How to encourage wildlife to your home

Wildlife is an integral part of any garden. From beneficial bees and butterflies, to birds, foxes and rabbits, wildlife is all around us. If you want to encourage more animals and insects there are certain plants that will ensure that you have a constant stream of visitors.

Bees love flowers

Bees are fantastic pollinators and if you introduce roses from Ashridge Trees you can rely on these amazingly hard working insects to visit your garden on a regular basis. Roses aren’t the only plants that attract bees. Lavender beds are accompanied with a steady buzzing sound right through the summer, and bees also love any herb blossom.

Bees and butterflies are vital for garden and plant fertilisation and in the wake of the recent outbreaks of disease in British bees all gardeners are encouraged to grow plants that produce plenty of nectar and pollen to sustain these wonderful insects.

Planting for wildlife

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) ‘highly bred cultivars’ produce little or no pollen. The RHS advises that gardeners plant crocuses with their pollen rich stamens to attract bees and butterflies. Wild flowers are also another useful way of attracting beneficial insects. If you have the space, try leaving a patch of your garden wild to encourage more flowers.

Keeping the birds happy

Of course, birds also carry out many wonderful tasks in the garden. From killing snails - if you’ve ever seen a blackbird teaching its fledgling how to perform this task you’re in for hours of fun - to keeping down aphids and beetles, birds are invaluable. During the winter months erect a bird feeder and keep it well stocked with seeds and nuts.

The Discover Wildlife website has some useful tips on how to keep birds visiting your garden the whole year around. Bushes with berries help. You could always install a nest box to encourage any of your feathered friends to lay their eggs in your garden, just remember to place the nest box high enough away from any predatory cats. Some birds also love some ground cover, dunnocks, blackbirds and robins all like to make their nests fairly close to the ground, so try not to over prune your garden.

Ponds and wildlife

Frogs and newts love ponds, as do water boatmen and a whole host of other insects. Ponds are on the decline across the UK, so you’ll be contributing to the national biodiversity if you dig a pond in your garden. House martins and swallows adore ponds, as they love the insects that are attracted to the water. If you are thinking of installing a pond in your garden, then the RHS advises that the winter and autumn months are the best times to get building.

With the decline in many species, and the increase of chemical fertilisers in the countryside, the UK’s wildlife needs all the help it can get. If you make your garden wildlife friendly, you’ll play an important part in the country’s conservation programme.

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