Make way for winged visitors

LURING THEM

Make way for winged visitors

Joy, anticipation and fascination – these are all the emotions you feel once your home garden starts attracting winged creatures.

Luckily, bringing urban wildlife to your garden is far easier than maintaining an image garden. Birds, bees, insects, butterflies, frogs, squirrels have simple requirements, mainly food and shelter.

Some may already be present in your environment, while others will get attracted when appropriate conditions develop. The food chain begins with plants and passes through various creatures in a garden. Some you love to see because of their beauty and antics, whereas others mostly are harmless beings just serving their role in the food chain.

A variety of wild flowers, seed and ectar-bearing flowers, grasses filled with seed heads, fruit-bearing trees, waterspots and areas of dense vegetation become the most preferred spaces for these creatures. Interestingly, mild-scented flowers, wild and native plants and those discounted as weeds turnout to be hot favourites of nectar-sucking creatures. Even birds refer the native and fruit-bearing trees.

Whatever works for you f you have dry, poor, but sunny soil, then meadow-type planting will serve best with least effort, whereas shaded, moist soil will befit woodland-type vegetation. Poppy, geranium, aster, sunflower, dandelion, zinnia, sedum, coreopsis, phlox, ixora, ruta, sweet pea, marigold, castor, ilkweed, grasses and sedges all are loved by butterflies.

This abundant variety allows safe places for them to lay eggs and live. Keep puddles or water dishes for them to sip from, especially during hot summers. Birds are attracted by preys like insects and fruits and dense vegetation at various heights to hide and nest in.

Practise a little letting go; you don’t have to pluck every dried flower and fallen leaf. From inside the soil to fallen leaves to branches are places for some or the other creature to live and feed. During the everal cycles of maintenance, allow some portions of garden to remain untouched so that food and shelter is constant and also so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

Lure the birds by setting seed tables on safe and wind-sheltered heights. Seeds and pieces of fruit will work. Keep these stands safe from cats. Small holes in bird houses will keep the intruders away. Birds look all over for nest-building materials.

Provide some, like string pieces, wool or cotton scraps, even your fallen hair will be put to good use. Clean water bath, low- maintenance hedges to hide and hangout, will attract them.

Ficus, honeysuckle, jatropa, quisqualis, bougainvilla, cup and saucer, ixora are inviting hangouts. Siamese cassia and many others are common favourites of birds and butterflies. Banyans, berry trees, mango, guavas, curry trees, oleander, herbs like fennel, dill and oregano are desirable. Plant variety of shrubs, trees and flowers to support many links of the chain.

Perennials work best in wildlife supportive gardens, because they are less work and provide seasonal interest. But when butterflies thrive, naturally you may see some chewed leaves. Take it as a good sign that nature has found what it needs to live. Caterpillars are often artial to cabbage family - that perhaps explains the white cabbage butterfly.

No formula

Incorporate some rockery and plant it with sedums, lantana thyme, oregano, very easy growing plants which supply both food and shelter. Nature has no fixed formula, but starts thriving when appropriate conditions are allowed. Practise non-chemical approaches for maintenance and disease management.

If your garden has various lives thriving, believe that it has achieved a certain ecological balance. Always use existing onditions as guide to determine what should be grown. Also, ensure that the garden does not produce waste that can’t be reinvested into the soil.
Automatically, you will find yourself practising sustainable gardening. Rethink grass expanses. Instead go for plant diversity. A thoughtful combination of supportive vegetation and crisp hardscape will break the preconceived notion that wildlife supportive gardens are rustic and unkempt.

Flaunt the regional plants. Instead of trying to fit into images of perfect gardens, create your own with natives. Such garden is above the need to fit in, it rather allows and encourages other beings. It belongs to the region besides being less fussy and more resilient.

A sustainable garden works as a self -sufficient ecosystem, with very little ntervention. Some well-known gardens that purport ecological gardening around the world are The Beth Chatto garden in Essex and London Wetland Centre. There are three wonderful gardens in Germany, including the one where the perennial movement began – The Old Botanical arden of Göttingen University, Westpark in Munich, Weihenstephan University
Gardens. You can probably take a leaf from them and add beauty to your home
gardens!

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