apeTalk’s advice on how to fill your garden with bees, birds and butterflies. Invite the buzz, whir and tweet of some colourful little guests that will appreciate your garden as much as you do.
Birds, bees and butterflies in your garden not only mean you are nurturing an environment that supports biodiversity, you are also adding another beautiful little nook of Eden to the Earth!
These creatures are crucial pollinators in our eco-system and every small haven created for them ensures a better future for our green and wild life. You’ll also be reclaiming urban spaces for Mother Nature’s beauty.
The way to attract these pretty creatures is to make sure your garden has a ready supply of what they love and need. And think variety: the bigger the variety in your garden, the more varied your inhabitants will be.
Planting the right plants can attract anything from 50 to 100 species of birds to your garden. Birds like eating nectar, berries, fruits and seeds, so planting plenty of these delicacies is the way to go. A bird feeder providing a variety of seeds is a sure-fire way to attract some avian friends too, especially in winter when food is scarcer.
A biodiverse garden will also attract insects. Butterflies and moths start off as caterpillars, so encouraging these fluttering beauties in their earlier worm-like form will create a juicy supply for our avian feasters. They will also make sure they don’t get out of hand. The ones that survive will soon be fluttering around as a further food source for birds, frogs and lizards.
Birds are great bathers, so a bird bath for them to ruffle about in will definitely go down well, as well as give them a supply of water.
Bees are such a precious part of our ecosystem and there has been some concern about their well-being over the last few years. It is thought that certain pesticides and mass monoculture farming are playing a key role in weakening their immune systems, causing colony collapse and declining numbers. Loss of habitat and urbanization are also taking their toll.This problem is far more severe in the industrialised northern hemisphere but is starting to gain ground in South Africa too.
By making your garden a biodiverse haven you can play your part in keeping the bees thriving as an indispensable part of our ecosystem.
It’s important to make sure that you are not using nasty pesticides in your garden that are known to contain bee-harming chemicals such as neonicotinoids. Read your labels. They usually contain acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and/or thiamethoxam as active ingredients. Explore greener, healthier pest control options.
If you want the privilege of these floating jewels in your garden, you’ll need to make peace with a few munching caterpillars, because that’s how butterflies start off. Look at them in a different light – they provide food for things like frogs, birds, lizards, spiders and praying mantis’ and they really only make temporary, repairable inroads into your foliage. To encourage butterflies in your garden means you have to allow for the larval stage too.
The female butterfly lays her eggs on a host plant and this plant will be the first thing the little caterpillars munch their way through to grow up to be a beautiful butterfly. You need the right kind of indigenous host plants to start the transformation from larvae to butterfly.
Butterflies like colours ranging from blue to mauve, red, pink or white when it comes to flowers. Some butterflies like rotting fruit such as bananas or pineapple. Leave some fruit from your fruit trees to rot on the ground as food. They like to get some minerals in from pockets of mud too, so a little mud puddle or two is appreciated.
For all sorts of gardening inspiration and amazing Heirloom seeds, why not check out Faithful to Nature’s range of eco-friendly gardening products here?