Why have a garden?
Gardening is good for us
Gardens offer us wonderful places to relax, to socialise, to grow food and to connect with nature. When creating a wildlife friendly garden, it is important to ask yourself all the things that you'd like your garden to do.
Most gardens already provide some resources for wildlife, so rarely do wildlife gardens need to be designed 'from scratch'. Instead, making a few small changes, adding some habitat areas or installing some special features, can transform a standard garden into an area that supports to our local wildlife.
Before designing a wildlife garden, it's important to consider the following:
What things do you love about your current garden?
What resources does your current garden provide?
What resources are not provided by your garden?
How can wildlife friendly designs or features be integrated into your garden?
Are there different layers and structure to the vegetation?
Are there particular species that you'd like to attract?
Are there some projects I need to do before I add the plants like putting in a drainage line?
When selecting plants to help build your wildlife garden, consider the following:
What is the soil type?
What sort of slope is it on?
Is there shading, and when?
Is it particularly damp or dry?
How will the plant benefit the wildlife or what bird will plant this attract?
Is my garden too small to be part of this program?
No matter how small your garden – be it plant containers, a courtyard, deck or larger space – we can all contribute to the survival of wildlife by providing suitable places for birds, insects, frogs, lizards and other animals.
The garden may be in a school or at a factory or on the nature strip, every bit or planting helps wildlife.
Recipe for a wildlife garden
Wildlife friendly gardens can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose. Simply put, gardens that are suitable for wildlife offer the resources (food, water, shelter) that animals need. Adding features and structure to your garden that proved these resources is the easiest way to attract wildlife to your gardens.
Here is a list of basic garden features that attract wildlife and provide them the resources they need. Most of these features can readily be added to any garden without changing how it is currently used.
A tall mature tree, native to the area
A patch of natural mulch for beetles and worms
A clump of dense shrubs where birds can shelter
Nectar plants for honeyeaters
A cat-proof birdbath
A frog-friendly pond or bog with unpolluted water
A warm, sheltered corner for lizards
Local daisies for butterflies
Plant food for wildlife
Well designed and maintained wildlife gardens will provide all the resources that our wildlife need to survive and thrive naturally. We can plant to provide nectar, pollen, seeds, fruits and insects. Plant different native grasses for seeds for finches or wattles for crimson rosellas. Correas provide nectar for honey eaters. Tea trees and daisies provide nectar and pollen for butterflies and other insects. Insects become food for birds.
Please don’t feed the birds and animals
Feeding native animals mince meat, bread or sunflower seeds may make them very sick, artificially inflates their population, and make them more susceptible to disease. It also make these animals dependent on human activity and unable to fend for themselves. If you want to feed birds choose a mix suitable for the birds you have and provide it only occaisionally.
The best way to help attract birds aside from planting suitable plants is to provide clean, fresh water in shallow bowls placed out of direct sun.