With the world beginning to open its eyes to the global decline in wildlife and the desperate need to improve habitats for wildlife, many of us are wondering what we can do to help and are itching to play our part.
During the lockdowns, time spent at home pushed us to spend more time in our yards thinking about ways to rejuvenate our spaces.
The best thing is that the more we can attract wildlife, the better we feel and the more we want to do it.
We are coming to understand that a slightly wild and unkempt yard that allows plants to grow as they wish creates its own kind of beauty.
For wildlife to thrive, you need a wide range of plant species.
Simple food chains mean you can’t entice birds and mammals into your yard without the basics. Many insects, such as slugs and beetles, are a food source for something else.
If you’re new to gardening or just want some quick idea of plants to bring other life to you, here are 8 plants to attract wildlife back to your yard.
Hands down, one of the best plants for bees is lavender. This herbaceous perennial has tall spines with small leaves but beautiful huge-headed purple flowers that drive bees wild, in a good way.
If you have lavender in your yard, you’ll be hard pushed not to find a bee on it during the summer months.
Attracting bees to your yard and supporting their regeneration is crucial for our survival because they are such prominent pollinators for fruit and vegetable crops. You can invite them to pollinate your crops by planting flowers that bees love.
Lavender is not only a beautiful addition to your borders and beds; it is also edible, smells fantastic, and has healing properties. Lavender has the power to calm, helps induce sleep, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
For butterflies, buddleia holds the top spot in their hearts. Butterflies and many other insects feast on the sweet nectar it provides, and the buddleia is a plentiful grower, so there is plenty of the stuff.
Butterflies are also prolific pollinators and responsible for the successful production of many crops we eat, including fruit and coffee.
Butterflies also lay eggs that hatch; their caterpillars are a crucial food source for others, such as birds and amphibians.
For some, a planting buddleia in their yard is out of the question; it is quite an aggressive shrub and can cause substantial damage to buildings, especially if they’re old because seeds easily wedge themselves into nooks and crannies.
There are plenty of other plants butterflies love, including Phlox and Coneflower.
Yarrow is a garden wonder flower; it seems to have it all, and once planted in your yard, you’ll soon be attracting wildlife beyond your dreams.
Although it’s an excellent magnet for birds for its nectar – because it produces seeds and attracts bees and butterflies – smaller insects also love it.
For many, Yarrow is considered a weed. Some go to great lengths to remove it from their yard. However, it is undeniably a valuable plant and positively impacts biodiversity.
Aphids love yarrow, you may think this is an awful revelation, but if they’re enjoying yarrow, they’re not enjoying your crops. Aphids also mean a more lavish feast for ladybirds.
Big-eyed bugs also love yarrow, and these fantastic creatures will stop other pests from ravaging your crops.
4. Cardinal Flower
Hummingbirds are a great addition to your yard. They are incredible to watch, but they also feast on a wide range of insects and pests, keeping the number lower and helping you enjoy your yard.
Aside from hummingbirds, only a few other bird species enjoy the nectar flowers they can give. Those that do can visit up to 2000 flowers a day, which means if you want to support hummingbirds, you have a lot of planting to do.
Hummingbirds are attracted to a select range of flowers and will seek them out. One of their favorites is the Cardinal Flower. This herbaceous perennial produces magnificent red flowers that hummingbirds absolutely adore.
To support birds in your yard, the Hawthorn is number one. The main reason it is so fantastic is that during the autumn, the tree will produce an abundance of bright red haw berries that will remain on the plant until early spring.
Although these berries are harmful to humans, the birds swallow them down in one gulp, so avoiding their toxins. This vital food source may just mean the birds can survive during the winter months.
There are many reasons to want birds in your yard. They are perfect for keeping insects and small mammals in check and dispersing seeds, supporting biodiversity. They’re also inspiring to watch, and some species, such as robins, can become well-known visitors.
Love them, or hate them, spiders are a crucial part of the food chain; they are predators and prey. They are essential for keeping fly numbers under control and are a tasty treat for birds. They’re also keener to be left alone than you might think.
Tall flowers such as sunflowers and foxgloves are ideal for spiders to make their webs between. They’re high and perfectly positioned to catch their prey, and being out of the way means humans and larger mammals are less likely to destroy them.
You can also invite spiders into your yard by leaving areas to grow a little wilder and by strategically placing small piles of logs, which are fantastic habitats for hundreds of insect species, not just spiders.
7. Red Clover
If you live in a more rural location and you’d like to entice deer into your yard, Red Clover is a firm favorite.
This flowering grass is a tall beauty with light purple flowers, and introducing it into your yard will also support small mammals such as mice and squirrels who eat the flower pods and a range of birds who love the seeds.
The list of red clover benefits continues. It is an excellent plant for rejuvenating soil because it can restore nitrogen levels.
You can also use red clover as a health product, mainly for preventing blood clots and supporting menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and sweats.
8. Yellow Flag Iris
The best way to attract frogs into your yard is to create a pond; even a small body of water can support them and provide a place to shelter and reproduce.
Frogs in your yard are fantastic for keeping insects at bay, particularly those who like to nibble at your crops, such as slugs, beetles, and caterpillars. Their offspring, tadpoles, will also reduce mosquitoes by gobbling up the larvae that hatch in stagnant water.
Although you’re not allowed to move frogspawn from a wild area into your pond, it’ll soon arrive once your pond becomes the perfect place for them.
Yellow Flag Iris is a marginal plant, and you should place it around the outside of a pond. It benefits fogs and toads in two main ways.
It provides the perfect position for frogs and toads to lay their spawn. Then when the tadpoles stay in the warm shallows, this plant provides the ideal shelter. It will continue to protect frogs and amphibians throughout their life.