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With the summer holiday fast approaching, now is the perfect time to get out in the garden with your little one and get them interested in all things wildlife. Take a look at our top six tips for welcoming new creatures into your garden.
As soon as the sun comes out we all come out of hiding and head outdoors, as do a myriad of insects in search of pollen and nectar-rich plants and flowers to drink from. Wildflowers are fantastic for all sorts of insects and pollinators like butterflies and bees, which are both in steep decline. Adult butterflies like brightly coloured flowers like marigolds, buttercups, daylily, heather, lavender and marjoram amongst a selection of others, so get planting.
Set up a bird feeder
Who doesn’t love waking up to the sound of birds chirping on a warm summer’s morning and channeling their inner Snow White? Garden birds are easy to attract with both adults and children watching them arrive in fascination. Make sure your bird feeder is placed high enough away from curious cats and choose a thick metal feeder rather than a wire mesh one to make life harder for pesky squirrels to get into. Remember to leave a saucer of clean water for your feathered friends too!
Cut down on weeding
Sure, we all want our garden to look good for those late-night summer garden parties, but when it comes to attracting wildlife, a neat and tidy garden isn’t always the best way forward. Your garden doesn’t have to look a mess, but a few less cropped corners can provide food and shelter for lots of creepy crawlies. Leave a pile of leaves, twigs and larger logs and stones tucked away in a corner to offer cover for woodlice, bark beetles and even amphibians like frogs.
Open up a bee friendly hotel
Many children are afraid of insects – and that worry can hold them back from playing outside. Bees are just one of the many insects that get a lot of stick and it’s important that we as parents develop a better understanding of them and teach our children to respect and look after bees rather than fear them. The bee population is in steep decline, which is why a fun craft that doubles up as an activity to keep little hands busy this summer and a way of saving bees is a brilliant way to get children passionate about these beneficial insects. All you need to make this Ceramic Bee Hotel courtesy of Baker Ross is: a porcelain mug (you can design your own or buy one), long bamboo sticks, hessian, aluminium wire, secateurs and a little adult supervision! Click here for the full tutorial.
Leave fallen fruit on the ground
Butterflies need food to be available up until late summer. In August, some species will feed on the sugar inside discarded fruit, with rotting pears, apples and berries being most popular.
Keep the weather in mind
Insects are cold-blooded and crave the warmth, making summer the perfect time to attract them into your garden. Make sure that you position any plants or flowerbeds carefully, preferably in an open area of a patio or lawn where you know the sun will hit. Make sure you leave more than enough room around the plants or flowerbeds for winged insects as they will need space to fly.
What are your tips and tricks for attracting wildlife into the garden? Let us know by commenting below.