A garden isn’t just about plants, pots and pavers, it should be alive with birdsong, butterflies and chameleons.
Make a home for helpful garden creatures
1. Compost heap:
Earthworms, nematodes, and micro-organisms are essential for soil fertility and making nutrients available to plants. If you haven’t got a compost heap, soil covered with leaf litter is just as cosy.
2. Water feature:
Dragonflies and other water-loving insects love to dance across the water. Frogs will help keep the mosquitoes in check to balance your ecosystem. And if there’s a little shallow bit, you’ll tempt birds by offering them a bath.
3. Dead trees or logs:
Carpenter bees, woodpeckers and barbets love to nest in dead trees. If you’ve already felled your tree, leave a few logs behind so fungi and insects involved in decomposition can colonise it.
4. Sandy patches:
Birds love to have a sand bath or just sunbathe in a sandy patch. This is also where lizards and solitary wasps lay their eggs – you may not be a wasp fan but these guys are really good for your garden.
5. Dense shrubbery:
Let a part of your garden run wild and dense so birds and insects can nest there. A little untidiness here and there will be welcomed.
What to plant to attract birds to your garden:
A variety of seeds and flowers will have many different birds and insects coming back for more.
Plants such as aloes, strelitzias, agapanthus and salvias are irresistible to sunbirds.
Bulbuls and other fruit-eating birds will be attracted to your garden if there are berry-bearing plants. Indigenous wild olive, wild peach, black-birdberry and waterberry trees will do the trick.
Grasses attract seed-eating birds and are very trendy in gardens. There are lovely looking varieties, some variegated, others tinged with red or purple. You can also attract birds using a feeder and wild bird seed.
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