We spent most of last weekend in the garden, trying to tackle weeds but also as part of our 30 green days challenge trying to make the garden more attractive to wildlife.
Foxes, squirrels and birds already hang out in our garden (in fact sometimes I feel a bit like Snow White) but I’m very keen that we make it a haven for butterflies, bees and ladybirds. So after doing lots of research, here are some tips for attracting wildlife to your garden:
Ladybirds are a brilliant form of natural pest control because they eat aphids, and help pollinate plants. Like many gardens around the UK we’ve had issues with the *wrong* kind of ladybirds (the Harlequin Ladybird). Why does it matter? Well, Harlequins can actually move in to your house, bite you *shudder* and worst of all, eat native ladybirds. (TIP: if you don’t know what they look like, they usually have 15-21 spots on their back.)
The best way to attract native, seven-spot or two-spot ladybirds to your garden is to plant the kind of flowers they like, including dill, thyme and daisies.
Butterflies also help pollinate flowers and with moths provide natural pest control; their presence is an indication of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystem. The best way to attract them is to plant buddleia (butterfly bush), lavender and oregano.
And we’re really keen to get more bees in the garden. Bees are also natural pollinators, particularly of wildflowers which are essential to the food chain: but did you know that they’re estimated to contribute over £400million to the UK economy*, through the pollination of commercial crops such as tomatoes, peas, apples and strawberries? Bees really matter.
Fortunately there are easy things you can do to help attract bees to the garden, including planting inexpensive and easy-to-grow flowers such as sweet peas and geraniums. We also invested in a little bee house (£12) which we’ve hung from one of the pear trees. We can’t wait to see if any bees decide to move in. Watch this space.
Remember, one simple act each day can inspire a lifetime of green habits. Watch out for the hashtag #30greendays for more ideas and tips.