The following article has been contributed by Kelly, a gardener and blogger. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of PreppingToSurvive.com.
Anyone can be a wildlife gardener whether he/she is an experienced gardener or just love to grow some plants in a few tubs in the backyard. All that is needed is to create the right habitat to encourage wildlife. As soil, climate and drainage conditions are key factors for the types of plants that you can grow, stick to those that grow locally quite easily without making major changes. A garden that provides food and water and means to build safe shelters to grow young ones is what supporting wildlife is all about.
Why is it important to attract wildlife?
Let me count the ways.
- For the maintenance of ecological balance of nature
- To preserve food chain along with nature cycles
- Wildlife helps in achieving economic value. For instance, some by products are used in branches of medicines like Ayurveda. While some animal products like tusk, ivory, leather, honey etc.
- Gene pool is a significant contribution of wild life for as it helps scientists to carry breeding programs in agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery.
- Most importantly, wild life provides aesthetic value to mankind
- There is an estimated number of around 40,000 species of animals, fungi and plants that benefit humans and more than the third of our pharmaceuticals originated with wild plants.
- So protecting wildlife is protecting our own health and that of the planet!
Birds generally flock to gardens with ornamental trees like crab apple or silver birch. So plant trees if you have place for them. The trees provide great perching and nesting nooks apart from bearing fruits and seeds to peck on. Hedges that grow berries and flowers like hawthorn, dogwood, wild rose and honeysuckle attract birds and bees. Small furriers also find something to munch in these hedges. Uncut long grassy meadows can provide a habitat for egg laying caterpillars, grubs like leather jackets, varieties of colorful butterflies, grasshoppers, beetles and young amphibians besides providing a grazing ground for deer.
A water feature like a pond or a simple bird bath or fountain can quench the thirst of small animals and birds that are thirsty. Different depths of water support different species. Shallow water spots are used by birds for drinking and bathing. Deeper areas can support young amphibians and newts.
Besides plants and trees, birds and squirrels love playing hide and seek on piles of dead wood that can even be an artistic showpiece in the garden. A bat box provides breeding for bats, if there are no thickets and brambles, a bird house can be made for robins and sparrows to raise their brood.
Safe haven for winter
Avoid trimming hedges and flowering plants till late winter as the flower heads and seeds are great food for birds during winter. Dry leaves in heaps help hedgehogs to brace winters. Make fresh, clean water available throughout winter when other sources might be frozen. You can plant trees and flowering plants that last through winter, because this is the season of scarcity for birds and animals. Make lots of shelters that can keep our winged friends and animals warm and dry.
You can make compost heaps with all the rotting wastes from the garden. This not only nourishes the garden, but also supports insects and crawlies which in turn attract a number of birds like wrens, robins, blue tits, frogs and toads along with butterflies and bees. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides kill bacteria and insects and harm the whole line of flora and fauna as they subsist on each other.
Wildlife gardens are proving to be earthy links that are almost forgotten in this age of plastics and concrete jungles. If not for ourselves, we owe it to our children to keep them a little in touch with nature and also provide a safe shelter for the birds and beasts that we have driven out into extinction.
About the author: Kelly is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of gardening. Recently an article on bad breath attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on electric vehicles.