With the warmer weather in full swing, the garden becomes a favourite place to spend our time. Bugs and creepy crawlies are the least welcome guests in your garden but did you know that many of them are necessary to have? From bees, which are important pollinators of various plants and fruiting trees, to ladybirds, which feast on aphids. Together with Dobies, retailers of flowering plants, we take a look at the wildlife that you should be more welcoming to and why.
Save the Bees … and Butterflies
Bees are usually the last things we want to see flying about our gardens but along with beautiful butterflies, we must welcome them with open arms. Both are natural pollinators, which means that they help spread your flowers around the garden and encourage growth.
Improve your chances of having these guests visit by planting colourful flowers, which will attract bees. The sugar-filled nectar attracts them and the pollen provides bees with necessary protein and fat.
If you want to bring bees and butterflies to your backyard, cluster flowers and plants together, as this encourages more bees to visit at once. Also, plant flowers that bloom at different times of year to encourage your flying friends to come to your garden.
You may be inclined to think that all insects are a pest but some of these little creatures can actually protect your plants from infestations of smaller creatures!
For example, aphids are a problem for many gardeners. The small insects, also known as the greenfly and blackfly, suck saps from plants and excrete it as honeydew. This sticky substance then falls on the lower leaves of the plant which can be harmful to its growth. Photosynthesis becomes inhibited and the plant becomes deprived of energy. In extreme aphid attacks, the insects can fully smother the plant — causing it to become stunted and weak, which leads it to die.
Ladybirds, or ladybird beetles, can protect you from these sorts of attacks. It is the larvae from these bugs that are predators of soft-bodied insects such as aphids. Encourage ladybirds to visit your garden by providing them with a water source. Fill saucers with pebbles and water, this allows the insect to take a drink without falling in and drowning.
Having you ever come across holes in the leaves of your plants? You can thank slugs and snails for that. These are some of the creatures that you definitely do not want in your garden. They leave holes in leaves and feast on your fresh green shoots.
To prevent these animals from taking over, encourage hedgehogs into your green space. They are a gardener’s best friend, as they feed on snails, slugs and other insects. To encourage hedgehogs into the garden, leave food out for them. This could be minced meat or tinned dog and cat food. Although people think that the creatures enjoy drinking milk, you shouldn’t leave this out for hedgehogs. It can upset their stomach and lead them to become dehydrated. You can also leave areas of the garden to grow wild with piles of leaves and overgrown grass to encourage hedgehogs to set up camp.
You can also encourage ducks and chickens to forage around the garden and consume the insects that they find. However, don’t expect your neat rows of fruit and vegetables to stay that way!