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Plants for Birds and Wildlife 


Not all 'wildlife' in the garden is undesirable! Here are just a few plants that attract birds and other wildlife into the garden.

If you have the space, then one of the Buddleja davidii types (The Butterfly Bush) will be just right - Black Knight, Empire Blue, Peace, Royal Red, Nahno Blue (shown) and Harlequin are all good ones. A good selection od native plants would also help - providing nectar and shelter to a wide range of insects.

Some perennials which will attract wildlife, include Achillea, Lythrum, Sedum spectabilis (a must) and Scabiosa. Most of the garden flower types mentioned are suitable for insects that have 'probing tongues'. This enables them to search inside the tubular type flowers for the nectar they seek.

A by-product of this being that the insects invariable collect pollen on their body hairs - unwittingly. Nevertheless, it is an essential part in the process of cross pollination between plants.

  Butterfly bush - superb for insects and wildlife Lythrun - attractive to bees and flying insects  Hebe flowers - a source of food for butterflies and bees
Buddleja davidii Nahno Blue, Lythrum salicaria, Hebe Midsummer Beauty

  Agastache is a mass of insects on a warm evening Lavenders attract butterflies and bees
Agastache (left) is very good for attracting all types of insects.  Lavenders (right) - especially the 'angustifolia' types (English) are also good fro bees and butterflies.

Hebes are also great for butterflies.  Pyracantha also for the flowers in early summer, and then the berries for the birds in autumn/winter. Cotoneasters will also fit the bill. (Excuse the pun!)

Winter flowering plants for wildlife

The Spiraea group, Lavenders, Perovskia, Syringa, Viburnum tinus and V. opulus and the summer heathers will all attract a wide range of 'flying' insect - bees and beneficial hover wasps in particular. So too will the winter flowering heathers - which tend to be at best in late spring - be an nice early offering of nectar. The winter flowering honeysuckle will also be an attraction.

The 'open flat-faced' flowers such as those of the daisy family Asters - Michaelmas Daisies etc - are beneficial for different types of insects. They have a suitable 'landing' pad for the less agile insects - and often attract beetles and other crawling insects.

As well as the permanent plants such as shrubs and perennials for your wildlife garden, there are the annuals which also attract a myriad of insects. Sweet Alyssum, and Phacelia being two of the best. Calendulas and Cornflowers, together with Cosmos are particularly good for Lacewings. And Lacewings are particularly good at devouring aphids by the score!

Hedera late flowers for beesMost night/evening scented flowers attract beneficial insects!

Some plants have flowers late in the year - none more so than the common Ivy, and these act as a last stop for topping up the winter supply of nectar for bees.

All in all, the best way forward is to have a wide range of flowering plants, and native plants in particular. This will ensure a good supply of wildlife to your garden. Once they age all flowered, don't be too keen to take off the dead flowers, for the seeds within, supply food yet again for visitors to your garden.

 

Other Areas of specific interest | Plants for Shaded Areas | Plants for Damp Soil | Plants for Dry Banks | Plants with Yellow Flowers | Plants with Pink Flowers |

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