How to attract more wildlife to your garden
Have fun creating a wildlife-friendly garden. You don’t need a big plot; a few pots or a window box will do.
Attracting more bees
Plant a patch of colourful flowers to attract bees. They love lavender, cornflowers, marigolds and poppies, and herbs such as thyme and marjoram. Your garden will soon be buzzing!
Bees are too tiny to drink from ponds, so remind kids to put a plate with a little water on it in a shady place every day.
Bring on the butterflies
Butterflies love bright flowers too. They also need a place to rest and soak up the sun so place a large, flat stone in a sunny spot.
And give them a place for ‘puddling’. They like to gather on wet sand or puddles to drink. Mix some earth or coarse sand with water in a shallow pan, put it in a shady area near your flower patch, and be sure to keep it moist.
Rustle up a tasty treat to attract more birds to your garden
You will need:
- Bird seed
- Suet or lard
- A few yoghurts pots
- Mixing bowl
Make a small hole in the bottom of each yoghurt pot and thread string through to hang them up.
Cut the suet or lard into small pieces and put it in the bowl.
Add the other ingredients and mix it into a squidgy lump.
Put some mixture into each yoghurt pot and put them in the fridge to set for an hour.
Hang them up outside and watch the birds feast!
Don’t forget to put out some fresh water in a shallow bowl too.
Attract minibeasts with a minibeast motel
Put a log or a large stone in an earthy corner and wait for the woodlice, beetles and centipedes to move in. Show kids how to lift and replace the log or stone very carefully so the little creatures don’t get squashed!
Watch the worms at work
Make a mini wormery and see the worms tunnelling and turning kitchen waste into compost for your garden or window box.
- Cut the top off a large plastic bottle and make a couple of small drainage holes in the bottom
- Put a 1cm layer of sand in the bottom. Add a thicker layer of moist earth (about 4cm), and then another thin layer of sand. Continue until 5cm from the top
- Dig up some wriggly worms! They’ll be near the surface of the soil after it’s been raining. Or you can throw a bucket of water on a dry patch and wait for 30 minutes. Put about five worms in their new home
- Now add a thin layer of worm food – kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings, tea leaves, and chopped overripe fruit, but not meat or fish, processed foods, onions or citrus fruit
- Fix a piece of cloth over the top with an elastic band and put your wormery in a cool, dark cupboard
Keep the soil moist, but not wet, and wait until the food is almost gone before you add more. If your wormery gets smelly, it’s too wet, or the food is rotting before the worms can eat it – best to tip it out and start again.
Attract hedgehogs and make your garden a hedgehog haven
If your garden is fenced all the way round, you’ll need to remove a small section the size of a CD case so hedgehogs can get in.
Put out some food, such as chicken or turkey-flavoured cat or dog food (in jelly, not gravy), crushed cat biscuits, dried meal worms, or special hedgehog food, available from pet stores.
Never give hedgehogs milk or bread as they can make them very ill.
To keep out cats and foxes, put food in a plastic box measuring at least 30x40cm. Cut a hedgehog-sized hole and place the food at the other end so other animals can’t reach it. Put a heavy stone on top of the box.
Don’t use slug pellets as these may poison hedgehogs. They can also fall into ponds and drown so pile up some stones at the side so they can climb out.
After dark, keep a look out for Mrs Tiggy-Winkle!
Have you had any luck attracting wildlife to your garden? What are your best tips?