How to encourage the wild into your garden

From Nine To Noon, 11:30 am on 25 May 2021

If you're after some ideas on how to attract more insects and wildlife into your garden - no matter what the size of your plot, Annie Burdick has you covered.

Burdick is the US author of Bring the Wild into your Garden, which is all about the simple things you can do to engage with nature.

Within one small garden there are many different ecosystems in action.

Burdick says even if you don't have a lot of space in your garden, you can start small.

"The biggest thing is that you attract one animal, you attract some birds maybe or you attract some insects, all the wildlife is going to attract each other," Burdick told Kathryn Ryan.

"The more you do the more you're going to get this mini functioning ecosystem. Like a little food chain that's growing in your own space."


A bird bath or bird feeder are easy to do, and Burdick recommends using things you already have on hand to make them.

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Photo: Unsplash

"Like old serving tray, old dishes, antique glassware that you may have laying around or in your cabinets that you're not actually using. Things like that can actually be great bird baths."

You can attach these to anything, even a pile of rocks, she says.

For bird feeders you can use an old drink bottle. "You just have to poke holes through it, run a dowel through it, like a little wooden stick through it at the right height and fill up the bottom with seed and hang that from a branch, a tree."

Different shapes and sizes of feeder will attract different shapes and sizes of bird. Some birds may like an open platform tray while others will prefer a tube container.

The best thing to do is start by observing the birds already around your property, she says. Then you can look for the right type of feed those birds will enjoy.

"As those birds come to you more often, others will come too."

Butterflies and moths

When you're looking to attract butterflies, you need to look at flowering plants.

"Either one bush that has a long flowering cycle...or get a variety of plants that have different flowering seasons."

This way, you won't lose the interest of butterflies throughout the year, she says.

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Photo: Unsplash

Moths are attracted to sweet things, so making a sugary mix in a pot of sugar, molasses, overripe fruit and ale works a treat.

You can dip rope into the mix or spread it onto a fence to attract and feed them.

"The thing about moths, even though they're this kind of pest if you think about them coming into your attic or something, they're also pollinators, not as much as butterflies but they do pollinate."


Similar to butterflies, to attract bees you want to space out the growing cycles of the plants you use to attract them, she says.

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Photo: Unsplash

"Everyone kind of associates bees with having these big hives but a lot of bee species are solitary so providing spaces where solitary bees can make a home in your yard is actually a good thing to do.

"Even a log pile in the corner of your yard where it won't be disturbed by anybody."

Anything that you're planting to attract the bees should be planted further away from your human spaces, she says.

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