Add an extra element to your garden by placing wildlife on your garden maintenance agenda. Not only do birds, bees, and butterflies bring your garden to life, your outside space can provide them with a conservation haven.
In short, to attract birds and bees, you need to feed them and provide them with a comfortable environment.
Follow these garden maintenance tips to get started:
1. Choose attractive plants.
Certain plants are guaranteed to draw a large number of South Africa’s bird species – a 100 of which are considered common garden visitors. Cultivate shrubs and trees with nectar-rich flowers and berries, as well as grasses that could be used for nesting materials. For example, Aloes, Cape honeysuckle, and Red-hot pokers will attract sunbirds.
2. Set up a bird feeder or table.
Keep it filled and you will soon attract small garden birds, like Finches, which will return again and again if food is offered. Just make sure your feeder is too high for your cat to reach or you could be in for an unpleasant gift from your furry feline.
3. Add a bird bath
Top it up regularly and your local birds will become regular visitors. Birds love to bath and a bird bath will be just the thing, as well as providing them with a fresh supply of water.
4. Fragrant flowers with open centres
These are most likely to attract bees to your garden – these little creatures are essential for maintaining a healthy biodiversity and will help your flowers to grow. Look for Daisies or wide trumpets like Foxgloves that are rich in nectar and pollen. The same applies to butterflies of which there are over 650 species in South Africa.
5. Avoid harmful pesticides, especially those known to be harmful to bees
These usually contain acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. While you’re being careful, why not consider ‘going green’ when it comes to your garden?
6. Want moths?
To attract these nocturnal butterflies, plant some night blooming flowers such as Jasmine. Add some soft garden lighting and sit back and enjoy the show.
7. Go indigenous.
An indigenous garden will encourage and support the local wildlife and environment, along with being water wise. It will allow you to feed natural foods to the indigenous animals and insects, encouraging them to take up residence in your garden.
8. Relax a little.
A garden that mimics the natural world, rather than being overly formal, is more likely to attract local wildlife – insects and birds enjoy hiding places that allow for nesting and roosting. This doesn’t mean letting your garden run wild or become unmanaged. Rather, talk to a landscaping expert about how to best manage your garden so that it will fill both your and Mother Nature’s needs.
Commit to purposeful gardening that will not only ensure a lush outdoor space but one that is friendly to Nature as well.