How to Attract Beneficial Wildlife to your Garden
According to citizen research, Bugs Matter, the abundance of flying insects in the UK has plummeted by nearly 60% over the last 17 years.
Insects are responsible for pollinating most of the food we grow on the planet. They also recycle nutrients into the soil by decomposing organic matter and, as every organic gardener will know, they provide natural pest control.
Yes, we all get annoyed by flies and wasps, but without them, life on earth would collapse. So these statistics are indicating that nature is in trouble.
This site has always been about what we CAN do to make a difference, so with that in mind, let’s look at how we can support flying insects in our gardens.
1) No Mow May
Here in the UK, we have a ‘No Mow May’ challenge, where householders are encouraged to lock up their lawn mowers for a month in order to let small flowers grow in the grass. Here at Chez Green, we have an abundance of daisies, dandelions, selfheal, and clover. When you let the flowers grow, they attract pollinating insects, plus the flowers can set seed and repopulate around your garde.
It really can make a difference, as the National Trust report, that changing your mowing routine and allowing plants to flower can create enough nectar for ten times more bees and other pollinators.
2) Choose low maintenance grass
Using less chemical insecticides, fungicides and herbicides is crucial to the survival of flying insects, so what can you do when you want a lovely looking lawn to enjoy? Not all grass is created equal, so when laying a lawn, look for a company like empire zoysia grass, where you benefit from needing less maintenance, chemicals and even less watering and mowing!
3) Plant Herbs
Herbs are wonderful because they provide both food and medicine for you, AND bees love them.
The bees at Chez Green are hungry for comfrey, chive flowers, thyme and marjoram.
As medicinal plants, comfrey is an excellent plant for helping bones heal. Chives are part of the allium family, which help to support the immune system. Thyme grows all year round and helps to support immunity throughout the winter and marjoram not only tastes great, but a cup of marjoram tea helps soothe the nerves – just the tonic when we’re all worrying about the future of our planet!
4) Plant a meadow
A wildflower meadow provides food (pollen and nectar), for many insects that pollinate of our food. And you don’t need acres of fields to do it! You can buy packs of seeds from a garden centre and even pop them into a container – a half barrel is ideal. And you don’t want high quality soil in there, like compost, you want something a bit rough and ready. Many meadow flowers thrive on poor quality soil – you’ll often see them next to roadsides.
The key is diversity throughout the year. Aim to have something flowering from March to September, so that both early and late pollinators have something to eat.