A healthy garden creates a balanced ecosystem that can help your flowers and shrubs to thrive, not to mention keeping your lawn green and healthy.
For example, if you are looking for natural ways to fight slugs in the garden, try attracting thrushes and hedgehogs, both of which love to snack on slugs.
Here are a few ways to make your garden a home for wildlife of all kinds, with plenty of beneficial effects as a result.
Hedgehogs are high on many gardeners’ ‘would like to meet’ list, so create a mini hedgehog habitat in a quiet corner of your garden for the best chance of receiving a spiky visitor in the night.
You can buy special hedgehog food, but meat-based dog food and cat food (not containing fish) works too, along with a shallow dish of water – you might also want to leave small access holes at the bottom of your fences.
A bird bath can attract many more winged visitors to your garden. Keep it in the shade to prevent it from drying out. This should mean you can rely on rainwater to fill it for longer and also slows algae growth, which thrives in direct sunlight.
If you opt for a moving water feature such as a fountain, it will probably come with a filter in the pump. The slimy stuff that accumulates on the filter isn’t very pleasant, but it is rich in nutrients, so use it as fertiliser for your flowerbeds.
Wildflowers are equally happy growing in bare soil as they are growing through grass, so it’s up to you whether to make a meadow retained in a flowerbed or scatter seeds on an area of lawn.
Either way, a good mix of wildflowers should attract butterflies and bees into your garden, and thorny teasel can bring in goldfinches, especially in autumn as the tufty flower heads dry out.
You might not use your garden at night, but nocturnal wildlife does, including hedgehogs, foxes and a particular friend to gardeners – bats.
Keep night lighting to a low, plant fragrant night-time flowers and consider putting up a bat box, and you can expect these lovable flying mammals to take up residence, keep the midge and mosquito population under control, and deposit richly fertilising guano on your shrubberies in return.
A compost heap is a great way to make your own fertiliser from garden cuttings, glass clippings and the right kinds of kitchen food waste.
Compost needs to drain, so make sure liquids can run off from the bottom of your compost container – this also leaves somewhere for microbugs to get in and help the digestion along.