Looking after the wildlife is a key part of our home education, as it is for many home-schooling/unschooling families around the world. But how can you support the wildlife at your own back door? Creating a wildlife garden is not only a fantastic way to support the local ecosystem, but will also provide invaluable lessons for your little ones. They will learn how to select appropriate plants, how to care for a garden and all of the wonderful things you can do to make your garden a wildlife haven!
One of the most crucial aspects of creating a wildlife garden is the plants you include. Choosing the correct species not only attracts wildlife to your garden, but also provides the perfect habitat for them to thrive.
Top 10 Plants For Wildlife
- Hawthorn (Crataegus) – Not only does this magnificent plant attract over 150 species of insect but during the summer it supports pollinators, such as bees, and in the winter it is covered with juicy berries to feed our hungry birds! Hawthorn also serves as a home to many of our insects that the British birds and spiders rely on. Note: Hawthorn has rather long thorns that easily pierce clothing and skin. Avoid using in areas where children will be unattended.
- Bramble (Rubus fruticosus) – Attractive to bees, spiders, birds, butterflies and moths, Bramble is a fantastic addition to your wildlife garden! The flowers and nectar feed the insects and during the Autumn the fruit feeds our mice and foxes. Ensure to keep bramble well pruned due to their invasive nature.
- Butterfly bush ( Buddleja) – One of the best plants for butterflies and bees, the Buddleja is a staple for those hoping to support these two wonderful creatures.
- Daisy, dandelion and thistle (Asteraceae) – All part of the same family, these wonderful little plants are a bountiful source of nectar for insects and seeds for small mammals.
- Firethorn (Pyracantha) – An ideal plant for hedges, the Firethorn provides a dense coverage full of berries providing shelter and nectar for birds and insects. See previous note on Hawthorn.
- Holly (Ilex aquifolium) – An essential to many in the ecosystem, Holly not only provides a fantastic area for nesting birds, but also supports them through the hard winter with it’s rich berries. Fallen leaves will also create a deep leaf litter below the plant, creating a sanctuary for slow worms, hibernating hedgehogs and other small mammals.
- Honeysuckle (Lonicera) – A beautiful climbing addition to any garden, the Honeysuckle is a favourite amongst bees, butterflies and the hummingbird hawk moth. If left to thicken, this plant also provides a brilliant nesting site for many resident birds.
- Ivy (Hedera helix) – Producing berries later than most other species, Ivy is one of the best plants to support wildlife through the winter. It’s dense coverage will also provide shelter for small insects and during the summer months, the flowers are a great source of nectar for butterflies. Keep well pruned due to invasive nature.
- Lavender (Lavandula) – One of the most well known plants, lavender not only serves the bees and butterflies, but also supports much smaller insects such as ladybirds and lacewings, who are crucial for maintaining the populations of aphids and mealy bugs.
- Sunflower (Helianthus) – This splendid plant is not only amazing to look at, but those large impressive heads are a seedy feast for local birds! Their abundant pollen also attracts lots of bees and butterflies to the surrounding area, making it ideal for wildlife gardens.
Small Garden? No Problem!
Even if you have a small garden, containers or hanging baskets are a great way to attract wildlife in a small space and are a great size for kids to maintain. Plants such as lavender, marigold or cosmos are all great options. Or if you prefer a more herb based approach rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme are perfect additions.
Even if you have a small space there are some wonderful plants that you can incorporate into window boxes and pots. Pinterest in particular has some amazing ideas for planting in smaller spaces and creating wonderful wildlife gardens, check out our wildlife garden board for inspiration!.
With spring approaching and warmer weather on the horizon we are certainly looking forward to creating a wonderful habitat for wildlife in our garden and allotment!
For those on a budget, or those who love a good saving (tell me a parent who doesn’t!?) this time of year is great for finding some amazing deals. We found lots of brilliant savings using the Latest Deals website, who currently have savings on lots of wildlife friendly plants such as Buddleia, Lavender and beautiful bedding plants. Local garden centres are another great source for wildlife friendly plants where employees will be able to advise you on what is best for your garden and help you to select the most appropriate plants.
What plants will you be choosing for your wildlife garden? Be sure to share your photos with us on Instagram! We love seeing everyone’s adventures!
Stay tuned for our next post in the series, How To Make Wildlife Friendly Habitats!