Gardening for wildlife

While once it was thought that if you were trying to attract wildlife to your garden it had to look like a very neglected jungle, in reality this is not the case. By devoting just a small part of your garden to wildlife you can turn it into a paradise for many beneficial birds, mammals and insects. The advantages of creating a haven for wildlife in your garden are numerous. By devoting even a small area of your garden to wildlife you will be able to observe wild creatures that you wouldnÂ’t normally see up close and personal, you will be able to maintain a healthy insect balance without the use of chemicals by letting natural predators keep pests under control and you will also benefit from the feel good factor that comes from taking part in conservation.
   When looking for a place to settle, the primary concerns of most wild animals are food, water and shelter. The best way of providing these three things is to grow a mixture of native species of shrubs and trees along with a good selection of colourful, nectar rich, fragrant flowers. To encourage birds and insects to visit your garden all year round your planting scheme should have a good supply of nectar and pollen from early spring on. It is also a good idea to plant trees and shrubs that will produce berries late in the autumn as these will provide food for birds well into the winter. Ornamental grasses are also popular for wildlife gardens as they attract many seed eating birds. A bird table is also a necessity for any wildlife garden as it helps to keep birds visiting the garden through the harsh winter months. Most bird table can also be fitted with a jar which can be used to provide your garden visitors with fresh water.
   Along with food and water visiting creatures to the garden also will need shelter. Evergreen shrubs, trees and hedges planted through the garden should provided the needed shelter and if there is a nearby food supply these plants will often make a good nesting site for garden birds and insects.

Below is a list of some plants that do well in the gardens what wildlife they can be used to attract:

Ilex (Holly)
Malus (Crab Apple)
Prunus Padus (Bird Cherry)
Pyracantha (Firethorn)
Hedera (Ivy)
Sorbus Aucuparia (Mountain Ash)
Lavandula (Lavender)
Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
Hedera (Ivy)
Syringa (Lilac)
Tagetes (Marigolds)
Lonicera (Honeysuckle)
Digitalis (Foxgloves)
© Copyright, Highland Landscapes, Letterkenny, 2008.