There are not many people who do not welcome the sight of birds splashing in the bird bath, the sight and sound of bees and butterflies busying themselves pollinating the flowers or even the thrilling experience of seeing a bat swoop down into your garden catching some  insect or other.

All humans find animals fascinating. While we consider some as pests and try our best to keep them out of the garden, the large number that don’t do any damage are considered precious by many people. However, especially in our modern age of ‘earth devastation’ many species of animal are becoming a rarity! How can we encourage wildlife into our garden and support the dwindling numbers of the beautiful species of animal we have been given the job of caring for?

Food

Knys Knysna Lifestyle Wildlife Gardening David James 1

It seems that the main objectives of many animals’ lives is to eat and reproduce. Therefore, if we provide food in our gardens for them, come they shall! Plant berry-producing shrubs and trees so that the birds will be fed during fruiting season while the insects and birds that feed on nectar will be provided for during the flowering season.  Also, plant in your garden a variety of plants so that there will always be something in flower for bees and butterflies to feed on. Encouraging insects in the garden will also provide food for their predators!

Cover

Knys Knysna Lifestyle Wildlife Gardening David James 3

Because most animals on this earth are also eaten, they do not like to be out in the open too much. They prefer to be near some vegetation that they can take cover in. Also, trees and shrubs in the garden will provide nesting sites for many birds. So by all means, tidy your gardens, but not too immaculately! Bare soil is unproductive and a waste of space.

Plant Native

Knys Knysna Lifestyle Wildlife Gardening David James 4

The best way to encourage the native species of animals is to plant native or indigenous plants. The reason for this is that the animals and plants that are indigenous to an area have all been living and adapting together for thousands of years. The food that all these animals were dependent on before man chopped down their habitats and planted alien plants came from the native plants. This does not mean that one needs to only plant indigenous plants, but they should definitely be included in all gardens.

Water

Knys Knysna Lifestyle Wildlife Gardening David James 2

Every living thing is dependent on water for survival. Therefore, where there is water there will be animals. A water feature doesn’t have to be a large pool of some sort; a sunken container, filled with water and a couple of aquatic plants would suffice. With a pond will come animals like frogs and toads who will gobble up nasties too. If you are planning on building a swimming-pool in your garden, why not, instead of opting for a chlorine or salt-water pool, install a fresh water type. They are designed in such a way that water is circulated through some aquatic plants which filter and purify it. Think of how much better that would be for your skin, without the harsh chlorine chemicals.

There are many ways to encourage wildlife into your garden; so, even if you can only do so on a small scale because of budget or space, please do so. You will be rewarded with the most pleasant and beautiful creatures of the earth making your garden their home.

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An eccentric, plant-obsessed nutter!