Summer is one of the most enjoyable times of year for all species around the world. The world gets warmer, the sun comes out, and flowers and plants grow into full bloom. This draws bugs, mammals, and even humans out of their little hidey-holes.
With that said, as all these species of animals and plants come out, we need to become more aware of our actions in the garden. Why? Because like humans, small creatures need to take advantage of nature as well.
Nature offers shelter, food, and leisure to all, including the smallest living thing. In this article, we are going to detail how to follow some quick and easy tips from your average gardening novice.
Hopefully these simple steps will help you make a wildlife garden happy and healthy over the whole scorching summer.
How to Make a Wildlife Garden
1. Providing Water in Your Garden
Water is the key to life! In the winter, rain is a dime a dozen; so as garden owners and maintainers we do not need to worry as much about it. However, the heat of summer brings maintenance levels up a bit sometimes for the more hands-on gardener.
The over excessive heat can dry up the plants in your garden; making them less nutritious to wildlife and more likely to die out or go to seed earlier in the season.
Prevent this by giving your greenery a little bit more love this summer by watering it often and generously. Your flora and fauna will definitely thank you! Why? Because the last thing you want is to walk into a garden with rotting and dead vegetation.
In addition, make sure that you have plenty of water available for thirsty critters like birds and wildlife. Like humans, animals need all the water that they can get. Animals drink, bathe, and use water.
Therefore, why not give them easy access to water? You can add birdbaths, fountains, water bowls, and ponds for wildlife to drink from, swim in, and cool down at.
As long as you’re cleaning out the water and removing ice or debris from it, your generous contribution to wildlife will be successful.
2. Pick Plants that will Attract Pollinators
Everyone loves seeing beautiful plants bloom in the spring and summer, but a lot of people do not understand the effort that goes into beautiful green spaces and the animals that they attract.
It is important to do a healthy amount of internet research into what insects, mammals, and other animals you want in your garden before you plant the flowers and greenery that you want to put in your garden.
Pick plants that will attract pollinators to promote the health of the planet as a whole; and watch your garden come into beautiful bloom.
For example, consider growing blackthorn (or sloe). This plant species tends to flower early in the spring, making it easy for butterflies, bees, and so on to come in, gather nectar, and pollinate.
Another great example is fruit trees. Fruit trees such as apple, peach, plum, etc. can make great additions to your garden. Not only will you have the power to grow your own produce, but you’ll also provide shelter and food to animals that rely on them for survival.
Such trees allow for long ivy to grow on or around, thus attracting certain friendly species. Plus, any rotting fruit can be fed to bugs and butterflies that may need them for shelter or food.
3. Taking Care of Birds in Your Garden
Who doesn’t love seeing a beautiful array of winged creatures flutter outside their window? Think of Cinderella getting dressed by a flurry of feathered creatures, and tell me you don’t want a multi-coloured scene like that outside your window!
In the spring and summer months, these gorgeous creatures sometimes need some help when it comes to feeding their many new babies, and they more than appreciate a helping hand all year round!
So, why not keep the birds singing by creating a welcoming environment for them?
First, start with great bird seed. Bird seed is easy to find in your neighbourhood garden centre, and you can even put out a handmade bird seed concoction with leftover food if you do some research.
It is little things like this which will keep birds flocking back to your garden every year. The important thing to remember (if you start putting food out) is to continue doing it even in the winter months to ensure that birds do not waste energy visiting your garden if there are no nutrients around.
Next, remove anything that might harm birds. For example, bug lighters or zappers have the potential to harm birds. If a bird is trying to capture a bug near these lighters or zappers, they might get a rude awakening. So, be sure to make your garden safe for the birds.
4. Provide Some Natural Shelter in Your Wildlife Garden Design
This is a very easy box to tick, even for the novice gardener. Wildlife is fairly easy when it comes to shelter, especially if someone is kind enough to give them a helping hand!
A few logs or a little overpass if all they will need to be very grateful for some shade and respite from the sun in the hotter summer months.
However, one of the easiest things to do in this case is to offer wood pilings and leaf litter. You’ll be surprised to see how many animals can benefit from woodpile shelters:
- Frogs and toads
- Wasps, etc.
A single log that’s partially buried can offer great housing for bugs and other little critters.
As for leaf litter, animals like hedgehogs can take shelter in them whenever it comes time to, say, hibernation. Leaves also offer great shade for the smallest of creatures.
Offering wood pilings and leaves is an easy feat. In fact, all you have to do is scatter them anywhere in your garden or yard. Once the wood and leaves start to decay, they can make great compost, thus making the soil more nutrient-filled.
You can also let wildlife take over to a certain extent, meaning that you don’t have to mow the lawn every so often. Just let some areas get overgrown to where the outdoors is suitable to both you and wildlife.
You can even let flowery weeds like dandelions grow, so that the butterflies, bees, and insects have something to get nectar and pollinate from.
5. Providing Food to Your Wildlife Garden
If you are growing fruits and vegetables in your garden, start by picking what you need. Afterwards, let the plant naturally grow into seed. These seed heads will not only provide our feathered friends with some food; they will also give crawly creatures a place to find shelter.
This is a simple way to help out the animals that pass through your garden during the summer months. Also, as a general rule, don’t be wasteful in what you use.
You might be tempted to throw away, say, fruits that you don’t see a use for. However, if you throw that fruit away, then that wouldn’t be good, because that fruit would’ve been good for creatures to eat or take shelter in.
So, consider composting things like fruit, so that small critters like mammals and insects can feed off it. (We’ll talk more about composting in a later section.)
6. Be Organic
Now, this is one that keeps being forgotten and sailed past by a lot of gardeners. Wildlife is not used to or adapted to the harsh chemicals that are sometimes used by ourselves. Why avoid harsh chemicals? Well, for many reasons:
- Harsh chemicals can harm and or kill wildlife, including plant life, useful insects (i.e. butterflies, bees, etc.), and even humans.
- These chemicals are harmful to ingest, whether it’s ingested by animals or humans.
- These chemicals can alter the genetics of plant and animal life.
Steer away from pesticides, chemical killers, or other things that the environment itself is not used to. Being organic is the best thing you can for your garden and the creatures that inhabit it.
Consider these great ways to go organic:
- Pull weeds, rather than use an herbicide. Herbicides may do more harm than good when you treat your lawn with it. Not only will it eliminate weeds, but it will also eliminate bugs that might’ve been useful to the health of the soil.
Pulling weeds by hand can help stir the soil, and allow for bugs to be more proactive in making the soil better.
- Invest in organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizers don’t have harmful chemicals that can hurt wildlife. Instead, these fertilizers are made with gentle ingredients and nutrients, which make not only your garden happy, but also the little critters.
- Consider growing plants that are natural repellents. Yes, believe it or not, some plants can act as “bodyguards” against certain bothersome insects like ants, fleas, slugs, earwigs, and so on. Some of the best “bodyguards” of the garden are:
- Lavender - Here is our Lavender ultimate growing guide for more details.
- Other herbs, etc.
BONUS: Think About Composting
Finally, believe it or not, compost can be a haven for wildlife. As mentioned earlier, going organic can help the environment. So, when you create a compost heap in your garden, you’re giving back to the environment.
So, how can you create a good compost heap? Well, consider the waste from your kitchen:
- Fruit peels
- Potato peels
- Bones (from chicken, meat, etc.)
- Nut shells
- Tea bags
- Coffee grounds and filters, and so on
Instead of sending these types of waste to the landfill, why not reward creatures with a compost heap. Small critters like woodlice, spiders, millipedes, and other small invertebrates can benefit from compost by taking shelter in it.
Compost can also be a great source of food for other wildlife like toads and ground beetles. Plus, it attracts snails and slugs, which help to recycle what is inside it, so that the soil can benefit from the nutrients.
So, compost heaps not only make a good treasure trove for wildlife, but they also provide the soil with great nutrition. To help you in your composting, be sure to read our article on how to make compost here.
When worms are attracted to your compost, they in turn can improve the drainage of soil, and even help to move important nutrients to the surface. As a result of healthier soil, plants can grow to their best.
About the Author:
Emily Henry is an online editor for Buy Assignment service. She has almost a decade of experience in education.
Wrapping Up Our Wildlife Garden Ideas
As you can see, wildlife can benefit from what you can offer in your wildlife garden. The good news is, your garden – no matter how you run it – is more than enough to satisfy a lot of critters that might come around.
However, if you want to keep the wildlife happy with your garden this summer, then consider these helpful tips on making your wildlife garden more attractive to the birds, the bees, the mammals, and so on!