How to Create a Wildlife Garden

14 March 2018

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Get your garden buzzing this spring and attract pollinators by following our top tips on how to make your garden wildlife friendly.

Why is attracting pollinators to my garden important?
Most plants depend on pollinators to move the pollen from one flower to the next and so pollinators are considered to be as important as sunlight, soil and water to the reproductive success of over 75% of the world's flowering plants. Did you know? Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend!

What's the problem?
Pollinator populations are declining due to habitat loss caused by human activity and changes in agricultural practices including the misuse of pesticides. 

How can I help?
You can give pollinators some habitat back by creating a 'Wild' area in your garden using native flowering plants (grown in the UK). Choose a variety of colours and shapes that will attract a variety of pollinators and choose plants that flower at different times providing nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing season. Here is our selection of native wildflowers £2.49 each, all currently on display in the plant area in Pugh's Garden Village Radyr. All of these flowers have been grown in the UK in Peat Free Compost:

Selfheal - An excellent source of nectar, this flower attracts numerous species of butterflies as well as bees, who are perhaps the plant's most important visitors. Selfheal is named so due to its antibiotics attributes - extracts of this plant are still used in ointments and salves today.

Teasel - Bees, butterflies and hoverflies are among the many beneficial garden visitors that are attracted to the pink, nectar-rich flowerheads of Teasel. Later in the season, the seeds become a valuable resource for a diverse range of wildlife.

Red Campion - Visited at night by flying moths, bees and other species, this is an ideal addition to a wildlife garden. It also plays host to the bumblebee whose wild habitats are currently under threat. Its cheery, magenta flowers are highly ornamental and the roots contain saponin, an effective soap substitute.

 

Ragged Robin - With its wet meadow habitat in stark decline, this enchanting native perennial is increasingly popular in the cultivated garden. Particularly attractive to butterflies and long-tongued bees, the dark pink flowers can make a delightful contribution to wildflower planting. 

Field Scabious - Flowering during the summer months, this tall perennial is rich in nectar and so attracts a wide range of butterflies, bees and moths. 

Heartsease - This dainty native wild pansy is frequently visited by bumblebees so is an outstanding choice for any wildlife-friendly planting. It is named so as it was first used by the early apothecaries to treat chest inflammations and fevers. 

For all of the above:
Where to grow:
 In fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or light shade
How to plant and care: Water generously before planting then create a hole in the ground large enough to avoid disturbing the rootball in transition. Plant in the ground and keep moist until it is well established.

Some other wildflowers ideal for attracting bees and butterflies include Eranthis - Bright yellow flowers above rich green, divided leaves, Iberis - pure white flower heads on spreading, evergreen plants, Viola - scented, black, velvety pansy-like flowers with heart-shaped leaves, Primula - pale-yellow flowers nestling in rosettes of bright green foliage, Digitalis - elegant, tall, flower spikes with masses of large, drooping tubular flowers in shades of pink, mauve and white.

Come and visit the display in our shrub area and be sure to speak to our friendly and helpful staff for advice!

(some information sourced from: https://www.fws.gov/pollinators/pdfs/pollinatorbookletfinalrevweb.pdf and https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/pa/plantsanimals/?cid=nrcs142p2_018171)