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Inviting Birds and Butterflies into Your Garden

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 22 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Attracting Birds And Butterflies Garden

Hedgerows

Hedges and hedgerows are home to a huge diversity of animals, birds and insects. If you have to trim hedges then only do so outside of the nesting season (UK nesting season is between beginning of March and end of September). Never tidy up underneath hedges. The ground coverage provides habitats for small creatures and insects - and decaying vegetation nourishes the soil to enable healthy shrub regeneration. Rare butterflies also lay their eggs in hedges.

Water

Have a water feature, even if it is only a simple bowl. This will encourage garden friendly creatures. Dragonflies will often breed in them and birds will come to drink and bathe. If you have room for a pond, locate it in a sunny position and ensure that its sides are gently sloping so birds can drink and bathe and amphibians can spawn.

Walls and Fences

Planting climbing plants and shrubs against walls and fences can turn them into a living boundary and will provide both cover and natural nesting sites and would not be available on unplanted surfaces. Ivy is particularly valuable as it flowers in autumn, but you may want to avoid planting vigorous varieties of ivy against house walls as it can damage mortar.

Attracting the Birds

Landscape plantings can make your property attractive to birds in several ways. Plants provide year-round shelter from predators and harsh weather. Plants provide safe nesting sites and a safe place to rear young. Landscape plants supply food for birds in the form of fruit, seeds and nectar. Many birds also find landscape plantings a convenient place to hunt for insects. Medium to large deciduous trees known for attracting birds include the service berry, maple, ash, cherry, plum and many varieties of flowering crab-apple. There are also many flowering shrubs that will attract birds. Some of the best include dogwood, sumac, viburnum, elderberry and honeysuckle. Good vines for birds include bittersweet and Virginia creeper. Use bird feeders and bird tables to protect your garden visitors from prowling felines. Provide nesting boxes for birds and even bats. Nest boxes are excellent substitutes for the holes in old trees. In many gardens, there may be lots of food, but nowhere to nest.

Attracting Butterflies

There are several benefits to developing a garden or garden area that is attractive to butterflies, these include; this will also provide an attractive ad safe environment for other beneficial insects, therapeutic benefits, interesting study and observation, adding beauty to your garden. Flowers with nectar are essential for a butterfly garden. When planting these nectar sources try to put in plants that will provide flowers throughout the growing season since these are the source of food for the butterflies.

The following plants attract butterflies:

  • Daylily
  • Iris
  • Lavender
  • Milkweed
  • Petunia
  • Phlox
  • Asters
  • Butterfly bush
  • Heliotrope
  • Cosmos
  • Clover
  • Zinnia
If you want to encourage more wildlife to live and breed in your garden, there are plenty of options depending on what sort of wildlife you're interested in and it can be as easy as just choosing the right plants.

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