Top 7 Plants to Attract Wildlife Back into Your Garden
With insects and pollinators such as bees on a global decline, Earth Day provides the perfect opportunity to try and do your bit for the environment and help reverse the effects of climate change.
We’ve gathered the top seven plants for attracting wildlife into your garden this summer.
1. Catmint (Nepeta)
Many people will know catmint better by its use, in dried form, in toys for cats. However, it's not just our feline friends who find this plant irresistible. It also attracts bees and other pollinators.
Its leaves are used as caterpillar food and it attracts butterflies, a vital food source for many predators. Better still, it has been known to deter pests like ants and even rats.
2. Marigolds (Rosmarinus officinalis
Marigolds are interesting because they're low maintenance. They also attract bees and other pollinating insects, even in the mid-summer, as they produce pollen in large quantities.
And while Marigolds attract bees, they deter other insects like wasps, beetles, and rodents like rats and mice because Marigold foliage can have a pungent smell to this species.
3. Hawthorn (Deciduous Hedging Plant)
In 2018, it was reported that the hedgehog population in England, Scotland, and Wales was just one million, to the 1950s' three million. So, as important as it is to include plants that attract pollinators, it’s worth making room for deciduous hedging plants, too.
Hawthorn is one of these. This is because Hawthorns lose their leaves in the winter, giving hedgehogs nesting material. They also make a beautiful table centre piece.
4. Dog-rose (Rosa canina)
Dog-rose is one of the United Kingdom’s most abundant native, wild roses. It plays multiple roles in the UK garden. While attracting bees, moths and butterflies, Dog-rose also acts as a shelter for birds and small mammals.
5. Lavender (Lavandula)
Butterflies are a primary pollinator, and they lay their eggs in the Lavender plant. When the larvae hatch, their chances of survival increase because they have an immediate meal.
Planting lavender is a win-win: you’re helping butterflies and creating a delightful aroma in your garden, all while repelling rodents like rats which, unlike humans, don't enjoy the smell of lavender.
6. Lemongrass (Cymbopogan)
Have you ever bought a citronella candle to get rid of mosquitoes? Well, Lemongrass does the same thing, precisely because it contains citronella. It also deters various other insects, such as hornets and wasps.
But lemongrass does attract honeybees. Why? Because the plant contains oils that mimic the smell of the pheromones produced by the Queen Bee.
7. Ivy (Hedera)
Ivy is best planted in the fall, but its benefits are too great not to include. Research shows that over 140 species of insects and nearly 20 species of birds feed on this plant.
It's worth mentioning that ivy can grow up to 100 feet in length, so designate a substantial part of your garden for it.
How Will These Plants Help?
By growing wildlife-friendly plants in your garden this summer, you’re creating a Nirvana for nature and a relaxing space for yourself. You can even consider it your good Samaritan act for 2021 — or think of it as the mutualistic relationship we were always meant to have with nature.