Create the perfect habitat for animals in your garden

With spring just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about how you can attract all creatures great and small to your garden. Doing so can take time and effort, but once animals see that a place is safe (and has a regular food supply) they tend to keep coming back year after year – so with a bit of work this spring, you could end up with friends for life!

One of the first steps is to make sure you have plenty of plants in your garden. These serve a couple of important roles – foliage provides cover for animals and a defense against predators, and flowers attract insects, which in turn attract insectivores such as hedgehogs, shrews and a variety of birds. Berry-producing plants are also used as a food source by a variety of creatures.

If you’re still struggling to attract birds, consider setting up a bird feeder and keeping it stocked up with nuts and seeds – sunflower hearts work especially well. It’s definitely worth supporting it with a bird bath and table as well, or you may only get occasional visitors – you can add a nest box too if you want some permanent residents!

A garden that has plenty of places to hide has a much greater chance of attracting wildlife. Stacking up logs of wood creates a great habitat for insects and small mammals, and rockeries can have the same effect. Leaving over-ripe fruit and vegetables around these places will help to bring in hungry creatures.

Frogs can be hard to attract, but they’re a great asset to the gardener because they eat all kinds of pests. A garden pond is a big help – it doesn’t have to be huge, but it should have sloped edges that are easy to get into and out of, and native plants and algae to infuse the water with oxygen. Be patient – it may take a few years before frogs make a home there.

Finally, be sure you use organic products in your garden as much as possible and avoid pesticides, which can be harmful to animals. If you’re successful in attracting creatures, you won’t need pesticides anyway – the garden’s wildlife will help your plants by keeping insect levels down for you!

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