Attracting natural helpers to your garden
To enjoy the ambience of garden leisure time, being able to see natures helpers is relaxing and emotionally beneficial.
Natures helpers can include birds, bees (masonary, bumblebee, drones and solitary bees) butterflies, hedgehogs, frogs, lady birds, lacewings and even aphids!
Bees help to pollinate the flowers while adding interest in their movements.
Butterflies bring a delicate movement interest and colour.
Ladybirds are industrious workers who help clear away aphids as their main food, they look colourful too with many different coloured varieties.
Bee and butterfly gardening
A garden humming with bees and shimmering with brilliantly-coloured butterflies is full of life and beauty, the insects adding another dimension to your planting and giving you yet another reason to enjoy your garden.
By encouraging bees and butterflies into your garden you're doing the planet a favour as well as your plants. Populations of both insects have been plummeting, a combination of disease, climate change and the lack of suitable pollen-rich flowers. It's important because their activities are responsible for around a third of the food we eat – so helping them out makes good sense all round.You'll find all you need in our garden centre to make your plot a haven for bees and butterflies: here are some of the features you can include for them when you're planning your garden.
Include water: Like all creatures, bees need to drink. In our garden centre you'll find all sorts of water features, from bird baths to bubble fountains and ponds.Hang up a bee hotel. Solitary bees lay eggs in cavities in trees or wood; recreate the same habitat with a bee hotel hung on a sunny wall.
Plant bee-friendly plants:
Bees love plants with simple, open flowers so they can get at the nectar easily. Good choices include clematis, hollyhocks, geraniums, lavender and flowering herbs.
Make a sunbathing platform
Butterflies adore a warm sunny spot, so give them somewhere to sunbathe by placing a wide flat stone in a sunny spot in your garden to absorb heat for them to enjoy.Leave caterpillar-friendly areas: Butterflies are only half the story: caterpillars need catering for, too. A patch of nettles is perfect caterpillar food, and other plants caterpillars enjoy include mallow (Malva moschata) and mullein (Verbascum bombyciferum).
The more nectar-rich your plants, the happier your butterflies. They'll flock to buddleja, sedum, red valerian, scabious, Michaelmas daisies and aubretia – so plant plenty in your garden.
wild flower gardening will attract many nectar loving insects and may look like this.
The variety and amount of flowers help to sustain the bee population during the winter months when food is in short supply and nourish the queen and new bees: at the same time the bees when gathering nectar will help pollinate other variety of crops too.
Extra insects that visit your wild life garden also attract birds also looking for food, in the form of garden pests, slugs, aphids, snails and grubs.
Frogs and Hedgehogs
Two of our beneficial natural gardeners, both help to keep those pesky slugs and grubs at bay, almost invisible they contribute with their house keeping.
They are well camoflaged and blend in well with the surrounding ground and foliage so predators will not see them so easily.