If you are a keen gardener then doubtless you love watching the wildlife that comes into your garden. You may enjoy watching the birds, for example. In a permaculture garden, you will discover that the whole ecosystem teems with life. Food forests and other diverse garden ecosystems are great at attracting wildlife – far better than a boring lawn! This guide to attracting wildlife in a permaculture garden will help you understand the reasons to attract wildlife and learn how to attract wildlife in a range of different ways.
What Wildlife Can Do For Us
It is lovely to watch wildlife in your garden – but this is not the only reason why, as gardeners, we should do all we can to encourage a range of creatures into our backyards. Here are some of the many things that a diverse range of wildlife can do for us:
- Pollinate our fruit trees and other food crops.
- Predate pest species such as aphids and blackfly, slugs and snails.
- Add fertility to the garden soil (through droppings, for example).
- Spread seeds and propagate useful plant material.
- Aerate soil and aid in nutrient transmission and spread.
- ‘Recycle’ old plant material and help in decomposition.
- Naturally ‘prune’ plants and trees through grazing.
- Increase diversity and beneficial interactions, thereby making your garden ecosystem more stable and resilient.
Almost every mechanism and natural cycle in an organic garden involve some form of wildlife in some way. The more you think about what wildlife is doing for you, the more you will appreciate the creatures, large and small, with whom you share your space.
Attracting Wildlife Through Planting
One of the most important things that we can do as gardeners to attract beneficial wildlife to our gardens is to plant a wide range of wildlife-friendly plants. For example, certain flowers will be particularly good at attracting bees and other pollinators, while fruiting trees or bushes may attract birds and mammals that eat pest species.
When planting for bees and other pollinators, it is important to consider providing for these insects throughout the year by choosing appropriate plants that are in bloom in Spring, Summer, and Fall. A useful list of bee-friendly plants for Central Texas gardens can be found here: Central Texas Bee-Friendly Plants. You’ll also be able to find out more about which plants to choose to attract different types of wildlife by chatting to other local gardeners and the staff of local plant nurseries and garden centers.
Attracting Wildlife Through Habitat Creation
Beyond choosing the right plants, there is more than gardeners can do to attract wildlife. By creating a range of different habitats in your backyard, you can attract a wide variety of different creatures. For example, a garden pond could encourage aquatic creatures to move in and can also be a boon to birds, mammals, and insects. A brush pile will provide shelter for bugs, beetles, and other creatures. Bird boxes, feeders, and baths can help to create a bird-friendly habitat. Try to create diverse environments of shade and sun, cool and hot, to increase the natural diversity in your garden and make it more resilient.