While the idea of birds and insects nearby may not be a positive prospect for some, they can actually play a really unique and exciting role in elevating the enjoyment of a garden, particularly as a place for children to learn and enjoy themselves. Here at Garden Play, we’d never advocate for ants close to the kitchen, but there are a range of bird and insects that can be a really positive presence in the right areas of your garden.
As well as looking exciting and giving an opportunity to teach children about the animal kingdom, certain creatures are really useful at dealing with pests and contributing to the overall wellbeing of your garden through pollination. Rather than using a host of pesticides and insecticides to keep insects away, you can actually create an environment that attracts the right creatures back to your garden. Here are some tips:
Bird Table/Feeding Station
Birds can create a beautiful scene in your back garden as they settle take on some food and then fly away gracefully. The regular presence of a variety of birds to watch can be entertaining enough for adults, but it can be mesmerising for kids. A bird table or feeder attracts bird and is easy to maintain, with the wide range of bird species that could come into your backyard able to be fed from seed, fat balls, peanuts and dried fruits among other things. Once they find you to be a source of food and water, they’ll always come back.
Pollen & Nectar-rich Flowers
Pollinators are essential in the ecosystem and can be attracted by planting pollen-rich plants. These plants will attract both bees and butterflies. Some of the fragrant varieties of plants include:
– Lavender, one of the most common flowers, provides nice scents as well as attracting the right insects.
– Dahlias are also highly recommended for new gardeners because they are easy to grow and maintain.
– Foxgloves are a favourite flower for bees since they are bell-shaped and easy for the insects to suck nectar from. Foxgloves attract hummingbirds, butterflies and moths.
– Marigold is also popular among gardeners because it can grow in any soil and has bright and beautiful flowers that brighten the garden.
Create a Butterfly Feeder
In case your garden is too small to fit an area for larger plants, you could construct a small butterfly feeder. Butterflies are some of the most attractive insects with their beautiful colourful patterns. Butterflies enjoy eating sugar and succulent fruits, so you could construct a really simple butterfly feeder by putting some slices of over-ripe fruits on a plate next to some bright flowers. After a short while, you will find the butterflies flying between the succulent fruits and the flower petals!
Construct an Insect Hotel
An insect hotel is created by imitating the environment of the insects to attract them to settle in a given place. Since there are fewer insects by the day due to the widespread application of insecticides, insect hotels are an important and increasingly novel feature. Insect hotels are known to attract ladybirds.
A beautiful backyard can be naturally decorated to attract a variety of insects and birds. All you need to do is to create conducive conditions and provide the food, water and plant life. Although it may take some time, these birds and insects will get used to the safe haven that you have provided and become an exciting cast of visitors for you and your children to enjoy.