Most gardeners envision a garden overflowing with birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and other animals when they think of a biodiverse garden. In this article, we’re going to give you some great tips that can help you to achieve this beautifully biodiverse vision in your own garden.
Increasing biodiversity in your garden isn’t hard, by simply increasing the plant varieties in your garden you’re already increasing biodiversity. The increase in plant species will naturally attract a greater variety of birds, insects and many other forms of wildlife. By creating a more biodiverse garden you’ll be increasing its beauty while also helping to heal and protect the earth for future generations.
What is the current situation of biodiversity in the United Kingdom?
Although the UK has over 70,000 recognized species of animals, plants, fungi, and microbes, the bulk of evaluations shows that wildlife abundance is dropping. It’s difficult to track biodiversity loss over time, and most of the data provided will have gaps since it wasn’t collected regularly over time.
However, according to the most current State of Nature report, published in 2019, the average abundance of wildlife in the UK has decreased by 13% since the 1970s. Changes in land use and habitat distribution will have impacted biodiversity, resulting in an overall image of continued species decrease, but not at the same rate as in past decades.
The United Kingdom has expanded the size of protected areas on land and at sea, as well as reduced air and water pollution. Priority species’ relative abundance and range, on the other hand, have not improved. Farmland and woodland bird populations have declined while pollinating insects have shown little improvement. This is despite a 69 per cent rise in government expenditure on biodiversity since 2000, despite a 33 per cent decline in investment over the last five years. The £473 million spent on biodiversity by the public sector in 2018/19 amounted to barely 0.022 per cent of the country’s GDP.
Why is biodiversity important?
Biodiversity is necessary for all species on Earth, including humans, to function properly. We cannot have healthy ecosystems that give us the oxygen we breathe and the food we consume without a diverse range of animals, plants, and microbes.
Here are some ideas for increasing animals in your yard and thereby increasing biodiversity.
1. Attract birds to your garden
Birds want food and shelter to visit or reside in your garden, so grow trees and shrubs that supply both. Native plants are fantastic options. Remember that it’s a good idea to leave the seed heads on herbaceous perennials like coneflowers during the winter. Save the last cleaning until late winter or early spring. Hanging bird feeders is a great way to lure birds into your garden, don’t be disheartened if you don’t see flocks of them arriving from the offset, once they have discovered the food source they’ll be sure to return regularly.
2. Add a butterfly garden
Butterflies bring movement and colour to a garden. You’ll need plants for the larvae to eat if you want the colourful adults who graze on nectar blooms. In your garden, avoid using chemical pesticides or the organic insecticide Bt, which can harm or kill butterfly larvae.
3. Build a pollinator garden.
Other pollinators than honeybees exist, but enticing honeybees is an excellent place to start. It also includes a list of plants that attract and sustain bees. Consider taking up beekeeping and breeding bees. Why not broaden your horizons and learn about a variety of other pollinators? Learn more about pollinators and how to attract them by visiting Pollinators.org. Use insecticides with caution in your garden, and use organic and natural options wherever possible. Many pesticides are toxic to honeybees and other pollinators.
4. Fill your garden with water.
The addition of water to your yard attracts birds and other wildlife. Include a birdbath, pond, or stream. Birds are particularly drawn to flowing or bubbling water. A water garden may support a diverse range of plants while also attracting a variety of aquatic creatures such as frogs, dragonflies, and fish. Consider constructing a rain garden. It might be just what you’re looking for in a water-prone area.
5. Build a rock pile, or save a snag by adding a log.
Wildlife can make a home out of a pile of logs or rocks. It may attract beneficial snakes and toads, or it may serve as a home for a family of chipmunks. A dead tree (called a snag) can be kept and protected as a habitat for woodpeckers and other critters that live in dead and dying trees when it is not in risk of harming structures or humans. Hawks and owls use it as a perch as well. Don’t just cut down a tree because it is dead, evaluate its potential use or danger first. If it is far from causing any damage to buildings or people, why not leave it standing for wildlife.
6. Add a birdhouse, bat house, or pollinator house for native pollinators.
By providing suitable habitat for birds, bats, and pollinators, you may encourage them to visit your garden. If you’re feeling creative why not have a go at making one yourself? This can also be a great activity for the whole family and a fun way to engage the little ones in your home with your biodiversity project.
7. Choose a strategy for dealing with invasive plants.
Regardless of how you feel about “invasive” plants, eliminating some or all of them from your garden will provide room for more diverse species.
8. Expand the number of native plants in your garden.
Native plants are well adapted to the soil and climate. Many are very attractive and provide excellent food and shelter for native wildlife, beneficial insects and pollinators.
9. STOP using Chemicals on your yard
Pest issues can be reduced in a biodiverse garden because it attracts beneficial birds and insects that keep pest insects at bay. Don’t endanger their work by applying pesticides in ways that hurt these helpful insects. Become an organic gardener, or at the absolute least, apply chemical pesticides only in limited, restricted areas and when beneficial insects aren’t present or active. Also, use a pesticide that is gentle on beneficial insects. Insecticidal soap sprays and horticultural oils are both effective options. When pest bug numbers reach an unacceptable level, they should be your first choice.
10. Build a pond to add an open water source for your ecosystem
Ponds are important habitats for insects, frogs, fish, and other tiny local wildlife, as well as being attractive oases of quiet in your garden. A simple or inexpensive pond or water feature can provide a bathing and drinking place for birds and smaller creatures. You may make a small pond in your yard by excavating a hole, purchasing pond PVC lining, and installing the necessary filters… If you wanted to make it a genuine masterpiece, you could add rock/stone detail, lily pads, and maybe a garden pond bridge. You may locate tadpoles in the spring and watch them grow! If you don’t have enough space for a pond, consider installing a birdbath instead. They’ll attract not only birds but also pollinating insects and if you’re lucky, some squirrels too!
Creating your own ecosystem is not only fun, but it is also good for the environment! You may easily and rapidly boost biodiversity in your own garden! If all of the aforementioned advantages aren’t enough, it’s also tremendously fulfilling to develop an ecosystem from the ground up, knowing that you’re not only benefiting the environment, but also mankind!
If you don’t have the time or space to dedicate your backyard, remember that even a tiny act as simple as a potted plant may assist an insect population growth.
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