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There are a huge range of tips designed to help invite specific insects and birds into your garden. However, it might be that you’re happy to make more general changes and see which animals turn up! If that’s the case, these are some great general ways to make your garden wildlife friendly.
Have a water feature
Even the smallest water feature is a brilliant way to start attracting animals into your garden. Whether it’s a small pond, a fountain or just a bird bath, you’ll bring in everything from birds to dragonflies to the odd frog. And, of course, you’ve also got the option to add your own fish if you want to.
Hold back on the cutting
Whilst it’s considered fairly normal to start cutting back perennials early on, if you can hold off until at least the spring, you’ll be doing the wildlife a favour! The seed heads provide valuable food to birds, and the additional foliage can also provide useful shelter for insects, especially those that hibernate.
There remains no better way to attract birds, bees and butterflies than by planting flowers and plants that provide pollen. Try and arrange your garden so that there is always at least one pollinating flower in bloom. Another option is to plant flowers and plants that grow berries, as this will help feed a wide range of both birds and ground animals.
Don’t throw out dead wood
The chances are that if you’ve got a decent sized garden, you’re going to end up with a bit of deadwood at some point. Most people throw it out: don’t be most people! Dead wood can be a really invaluable habitat for a whole host of different insects and invertebrates. Keep it in one decent pile, and you’ll always have visitors in the garden. Of course, this will also mean you’ll always have birds around too!
Consider the odd bit of uncut lawn
If you’re not concerned about the village of the year contest, then you should definitely consider the merits of letting your lawn go a bit. Long grass can be a great habitat for animals such as grasshoppers, beetles and even young amphibians. (The latter is especially true if you’ve got a water feature installed as well). Longer grass also makes a great food source for caterpillars.
Where possible, you should try to ensure that your garden is as natural as possible. Use disease resistant varieties of plants where you can, and whenever you need pesticides or insecticides, use homemade, organic versions. Mulches are another very natural way to control weeds. The more organic and natural your garden, the more attractive it will be to animals looking for a new home.
Never under-estimate the value of recycling in your garden, especially when it comes to whipping up compost! Having a compost heap is a great thing for a number of reasons. Firstly, of course, it makes an absolutely brilliant soil conditioner, helping you to grow bigger, healthier and prettier plants. No bad thing! Secondly, organic compost can be an absolute feast for a wide range of birds and beetles. Of course, keeping an organic compost heap is also a great way of doing your bit for the environment.
Add the extras
Of course, there are few better ways to attract wildlife than to actually install features designed specifically to help animals out! Bird-baths, nesting boxes, bee nests and feeders are all sure-fire ways to have wildlife returning to your garden year after year. More and more natural resources are being removed in the countryside, so animals desperate to find a home will be happy to make one in your garden if it’s got everything they need.
Create natural habitats
In addition to the manmade habitats above, try and create some natural ones. Climbing plants are an absolutely brilliant example, in that they provide more or less anything birds and insects need whilst still making your garden look great. They offer shelter to smaller animals, and they also make the perfect landing place for birds in need of a rest. Generally speaking, it’s best to set the trellises around 10cm from the wall or fence, as this will allow ample room for nests underneath.
Buy organic where possible
Every now and then, it’s inevitable that you’re going to need to pick up things for your garden that aren’t completely natural: it’s virtually impossible to avoid completely. The best thing you can do in these circumstances is ensure that everything you purchase comes from cultivated stock and is as natural as possible. This can apply to everything from compost to plant cuttings, so take the time to check before heading to the till.
If you’re still a little bit uncertain about how best to attract wildlife, then give Notcutts a call today. We’ll be happy to suggest different ways that you can make your garden home to everything from caterpillars to robins!