See below for another helpful article from Sally, a fellow friend of nature!

A Garden Sanctuary – Attracting Wildlife to the Backyard

If a gardener is keen to attract different forms of wildlife to their backyard, they need to think far beyond aesthetics; for a garden to attract animals, insects and birds, it has to be completely wildlife orientated. A gardener in Wallaceburg wanting to attract some varied wildlife; squirrels, mice and interesting species of birds to name just a few, will need to consider the aspects of their gardens that are beneficial in sustaining a wildlife ecosystem. They should consider whether they need to provide additional food and water sources and assess potential dangers, such as hazardous substances and predators. For most gardeners, the reward of seeing wildlife flocking to their garden outweighs any difficulty taken to create it.

Food, Glorious Food!

Local knowledge is vital in tailoring a garden to attract wildlife. A local naturalist group can usually offer guidance, and many organise walking tours exploring local habitats which may inspire the wildlife-keen gardener. Native species of plants are generally the best choice for the garden as they will most likely have an established place in local wildlife ecosystems, but gardeners should be wary of any which may have poisonous properties to wildlife. Gardeners need to think about the types of wildlife they want to attract and start small; the more wildlife that is attracted to the garden, the larger and more fragile the ecosystem. It is best to start by concentrating on one type of wildlife; for example, if the aim is to attract birds, water features should be placed, as well as feeders, and bird baths in the garden. This should be carefully done to ensure these are placed at an appropriate level out of reach of potential predators. Once birds start making a regular appearance, the gardener can then move onto other changes to entice other types of wildlife.

A Safe Haven

For wildlife to continue visiting a garden it needs to provide them with not just food and water, but safety. When wildlife visitors begin to call, it is wise to carry out some research. There are several websites which can help shed a light on what species are best, ecologically speaking, to grow or attempt to attract depending on their garden’s location. Gardeners should find out what dangers there are out there for their garden visitors – for example, is their wildlife haven likely to become a play park for the next-door neighbours cat? Gardeners should also monitor the plants they are growing to entice wildlife for any signs of ill-health as well, as if they start to die their garden will lose its attraction. Shelter should be made available, and although this brings to mind birdhouses, there are several other more natural forms of shelter that wildlife will take advantage of.

For many gardeners, switching from aesthetic gardening to wildlife gardening is quite a change, but in terms of ecological sustainability, well worth it. Taking the right precautions and making a garden enticing for wildlife is hugely rewarding when seeing the wildlife population increase over time, as is knowing that the garden is providing a habitat for creatures who may be under threat.