Gardening for Wildlife

One Earth Landscaping, Education and Consulting

Welcome readers, this month the focus is on the importance of Insects and Spiders in the garden/landscape and how to attract them.

These two groups of animals are an absolutely essential component to the entire food chain and they directly or indirectly influence the survival of most land animals. They fundamentally underpin the relationship of predator and prey.

Insects and/or Spiders are eaten by Birds, Fish, Frogs, Lizards, Turtles, Carnivorous Marsupials, Snakes, other animals and each other. The more bio-diverse your insect and spider species are the more likely you are to end up with a greater and more diverse selection of many of the species of animals up the food chain. Insects are also critical in their role to pollinate many species of flowering plants, including many of the plants we grow for food.

There are many things we can do to attract Insects and Spiders into the garden/landscape:

-Avoid spraying herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.

-Allow parts of your garden to be a little WILD, don’t over manicure everything.

-Plant layers of vegetation (ground covers, shrubs, grasses and trees) specifically flowering plants.

-Introduce native bees or honey bees to the garden by setting up hives.

-Allow some selective weed species to grow and flower in parts of your garden.

-Allow vegetables and herbs to grow, flower and go to seed to attract beneficial insects.

-Introduce water (pond, birdbath etc).

-Bring rocks and natural logs into the garden and spread mulch to cover the ground.

-Create an insect hotel.

-Plant endemic native plants as well as other flowering plants (native and exotic).

Some specific flowering plants I use to attract beneficial insects into my food gardens:

-Sages (salvia species), Corriander, Dill, Parsley, Basil and Fennel.

-Buddleas, Cosmos, Daisies, Nasturtium, Alyssum, Yarrow and Marigolds.

-Broccoli, Tomatoes, Lettuce

Happy Gardening.