Gardens can be easily adapted to home Wildlife of all kinds, the simplest thing to do is to introduce some wildlife friendly plants to your gardens. The plants listed below can all be grown in either a border for larger gardens or can be grown in pots – ideally, you’ll want larger pots or trough pots for some of the plants. They’ll be easy, low maintenance plants that will thrive in gardens and attract wildlife. You can grow all the plants in one area, as there’s a mix of climbers, shrubs, flowers and bushes meaning you can arrange them for them all to survive in one area.
Lavender is the go-to-plant when it comes to introducing wildlife friendly plants to your garden. It’s a really hardy plant that thrives in dry soil, which means if you forget to water it, it’s not a big deal! It’s an evergreen meaning it’ll look nice in pots or as a border filler, it’ll then flower with a rich purple colour in the summer months. Because it’s such a hardy plant, it’s difficult to kill but over watering will cause it to suffer from root rot. I’ve personally found it hard to grow from seed, but the easiest way to get hold on some lavender is to split the roots and re-plant elsewhere, because it’ll spread and ‘bush out’ it’s easy to split to roots and plant elsewhere which will then give you a whole other section of Lavender, find someone with lavender and get yourself a split plant! It’s a heavily scented plant which makes it ideal for pollinators, butterflies aswell as being nocturnally scented making it then great for Bats and moths.
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Continuing with the purple theme, Purple Loosestrife is a personal favourite of mine. I’ve always loved the look of Foxgloves but unlike them which are poisonous when ingested, these are completely safe! The plant is a wildflower that thrives in bog-like gardens making it a perfect plant for a muddy border causes by the Welsh weather. It flowers from June through to September and is heavy on nectar, because of its stance it’s a preferred plant for the long-tongued Lepidoptera such as your Hawkmoths, Butterflies and the trendy red-tailed bumblebees.Encouraging species such as these who are at the bottom of the pecking order will encourage birds and mammals to your gardens too. Being wildflowers, they are easy to grow from seed and will spread by themselves when they drop their seeds, alternatively, cut the flower head and let to dry then harvest the seeds and replant elsewhere in your garden.
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
Absolutely amazing plants, but in recent years there’s a lack of people growing them in their gardens. These plants are easy to grow, they don’t require much maintenance except watering and training to get the most out of their large growth, they make amazing statement plants in gardens and are great to plant with children. I like to grow them because of the seeds, you can harvest and dry out to replant the following year or I dry them out to put in a feeder for birds, but they provide a natural food source for birds. You can harvest the oil to create sunflower oil for cooking – be sustainable! They require constant watering unlike the plants already featured but the rain will do most of the work, but water in the drier months, as they grow you’ll need to provide a support for them in the form of plastic stick or bamboo pole for it to grow larger and provide more pollen for our garden pollinators.
The common name for this bush is the ‘Butterfly Bush’. It’s a plant that every naturalist as sat around counting butterflies or watching Hummingbird Hawkmoths feed off. It prefers dry soil but for it to flower will need watering but rain will supply enough for it to grow naturally, it’ll also require a bit of maintenance because it will grow large and take over an area of your garden if not cut back and pruned. Cutting it back every year will prolong the growth and allow it to come back stronger with more of its statement floral cones which result in more butterflies! The flowers themselves on each of the cones contain a lot of nectar which attracts bees and the like, but having an almost honey/sweet sugar like scent to it will attract in nocturnal months making it a perfect feast for bats. Because it can be a bit of a statement piece, it provides a lot of cover for small mammals to hide under can also provide a home for some nesting birds. If growing in pots, you’ll have to be savage with the pruning in the winter/early spring and cut the stems down by half for a stable growth the next year and more flowers – letting it get way too tall and out of control will mean it’ll get leggy and weak and then won’t have many flowers. During its flowering time in July/August, if there’s deadhead (dead flowers) pull them off and that stem will provide flowers to replace the loss. You haven’t got to try and grow this nor go out and buy a plant, find someone you know with a Buddleia push and take a cutting. Cut a new stem (usually bright green and baby looking), cut just above the new notch and cut at a 45-degree angle, plant in a pot and grow undercover and water once a week to keep the soil damp but not wet.
Honeysuckles have an acquired taste to them, to some they look like green messes with weird alien like flowers, to others they have great flowers and great wildlife pieces. It’s a climber meaning you’ll need to provide a trellis for it to grow up, but it’ll take care of the rest for you and attach itself to said trellis, or you can grow it as a ground cover but it will continue to grow and may take over without constant control. It’s rich in nectar but also supplies berries which garden birds will also love, making it an ideal wildlife garden plant. It doesn’t have an overpowering scent to it but it makes up for it with what it produces and its look. It loves the sun and doesn’t require much watering but in dry summer months, it’s always worth watering even once a week for the flowers to grow easier. In the winter months when wildlife isn’t reliant on it, cut the runners back to the trellis to keep it under control and to stop it spreading off its area. Again, you can grow this from cuttings using the notch and plant method stated above with buddleia, it’s a great addition to gardens!