Grow Flowers for Wildlife
With natural habitats declining in recent years it is more important than ever to give our native wildlife a helping hand. Most people already put out feeders and water for birds but that is just a part of the help that is needed.
Insects are a vitally important part of the food chain, without them crops would fail creating a huge problem for everything further up the food chain. Years of intensive farming methods and neglect mean that many wild flowers have disappeared - in fact since the 1930’s over 97% of wild flower meadows have vanished! This loss of habitat has had a knock-on effect on insect populations making our gardens more important than ever. We have seen a huge reduction in the population of bees over the past few decades and planting pollen and nectar rich plants will really help to stop the decline of these and many other species.
Visiting insects are incredibly important to a garden, not only do they pollinate our flowers and crops and but predatory species will also feed on pests such as aphids that damage our plants. An abundance of insects is necessary for the biodiversity of gardens and they will naturally be followed by birds, frogs, toads and other wildlife that feed on them. If this natural source of food is plentiful birds will be encouraged to nest and rear their young in our garden shrubs, trees and hedges adding to the pleasure we enjoy from our garden.
Even a small area of native wildflowers can make a big difference and when planting an ornamental garden choose some plants that have simple single flowers as insects find it harder to get to pollen and nectar in big double blooms with lots of petals.
Planting a broad mix of flowering plants such as cornflowers, daisies, poppies, verbena and monarda will bring lots of bees, butterflies and many other beneficial insects to enrich your garden. Most herbs are a magnet for insects, so don’t forget to plant some thyme, lavender, oregano, salvia and chives too.