Many creatures can be the gardener’s best friend in the spring and summertime. Lots of insects, birds and small animals can help in keeping down pests such as aphids and mosquitoes as well as help to pollinate the flowers and make your garden a much more interesting place.
Butterflies are an attractive addition to any garden and a vital component in pollination, although those who like to grow vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce may want to put nets over the plants so that the caterpillars don’t much their way through their crops.
To attract butterflies you need a good source of scented flowers with open nectar sources – buddleia and milkweed are very popular with butterflies. Take time to find out which butterflies are common and which plants they prefer to feed on.
Using a butterfly feeder if you don’t have a large backyard or many flowers is also a fantastic way to get these pretty visitors. This specially formulated nectar will attract many different types of butterflies and should be hung in an open, but shaded space.
Attracting bees to your backyard not only helps your flowers and fruit to pollinate, but you are also doing your bit for conservation. Mason bees in particular are friendly visitors and perfect for families with young children as they don’t possess a sting in their tale. Whilst they don’t build a hive, so work as individuals rather than a community, if you provide shelter you will quickly find you have a large population in your garden working their magic.
Providing bird tables and bird boxes is a great way to get a variety of different bird life to visit your backyard. If you feed them nutritious foods, preferably seeds and nuts and have an ever-ready water supply they will reward you with regular visits. Ensure that any bird table or bird house is put in a position where predators, such as the family cat, can do them no harm.
Other animals that are beneficial to your garden are toads and ladybugs – both will happily munch on all the insects you don’t want in your garden damaging your flowers and vegetables. Providing shelter for these will ensure they have somewhere to protect them from wind or wet weather and give them somewhere safe to stay over the winter months.