Wildlife Gardener - The Best Plants for a Wildlife Garden
Not all plants are equal if you want to create a wildlife friendly garden. The plants you choose to include in your borders and pots can have a big impact on the numbers and varieties of wildlife species that choose to pay your garden a visit.
Here are some of the top plants for gardeners to use to create a great Wildlife Garden
If wildlife rather than aesthetics is your priority, choose sunflower varieties with fewer petals and a bigger centre. These provide the optimum pollen for bees and other pollinating insects. Once the flower has faded, its seeds will attract birds such as blackbirds, finches, jays and even some species of woodpeckers.
A hedge of hawthorn provides food and shelter for wildlife all year round. The plant usually flowers in May and becomes a feast for insects. In the autumn red berries appear. These are a favourite of blackbirds, thrushes, greenfinches and chaffinches, to name but a few. And in the winter, small mammals, birds and insects can roost and nest in the thick cover a hawthorn plant provides.
The highly scented honeysuckle flowers from June to September and bears berries in the late summer and autumn. It’s a climbing plant that needs support. However, once established it will provide nectar for bees, butterflies and moths (including the impressive hummingbird hawk moth) and food for bullfinches, thrushes and warblers.
Ivy is another climbing plant. Insects, including hoverflies, bumblebees, red admirals and peacock butterflies, use ivy to fill up on nectar before hibernation. Ivy also has berries throughout winter, attracting blackbirds and thrushes when many other berries have already been and gone.
Berberis is a thorny plant. There are a number of evergreen varieties available. These will provide safe nesting and roosting sites for smaller birds. Flowers provide nectar for moths and butterflies, whilst leaves provide shelter for caterpillars. The plant’s berries, seen in autumn and winter, also provide a great food source for birds.
Early flowering plants are a must for any garden. Buff tailed bumble bee queens can emerge from their nests as early as January if the Celsius heads into double figures. These bees need nectar, something that the crocus and other early flowering plants can provide.
A clear favourite for bees which mean polination! Lavender not only smells delicious but does wonders for the wildlife population in your garden.
Being a wildlife gardener means providing food and habitats for you garden visitors all year round. Clever planting will certainly stand you in good stead. You can then create your own additional habitats and provide extra food to make your garden a truly welcoming haven for all kinds of wildlife species. Check out our Wildlife Gift Boxes for inspiration, an ideal for a gardener interested in wildlife.
- Nikki Boxwild
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