Welcome nature home: attracting native wildlife to your garden
This article was first published on 05 Apr 2018.
Photo by the Otago Daily Times
Native plants offer plenty of garden variety, not just for us but for other local wildlife too. Our backyards can contribute to the assortment of food and shelter plants available for plants and insects.
To attract birds, consider planting a few key native trees and supplement them with others to provide a food source all year round. Pate, five finger and tree fuchsia are small enough for most home gardens and produce both nectar and fruit for birds. Add seasonal treats such as flax or kōwhai for nectar feeders. A range of fruiting natives will provide a staggered source of food for many visiting birds. Māhoe, coprosma, kaikōmako, lancewood and māpou are a few staples, but for a much bigger list of local plant species and other tips on enhancing biodiversity in your garden, visit www.dunedin.govt.nz/services/biodiversity/gardening-hints.
Did you know New Zealand has nearly thirty species of native bees, at least twenty species of stick insects, and well over 1650 species of native moths? What a shame many gardeners dismiss insects as creepy crawlies, or approach them with malevolence. Insects break down organic matter, pollinate flowers, attract other amazing and beneficial insects, keep pests in check and feed insectivores like fantails and grey warblers. A wide range of native garden plants will encourage healthy insect communities.
To learn more about how native plantings in your garden can help maintain healthy, biodiverse ecosystems where birds, insects and reptiles can thrive, come along to a free walk and talk in Dunedin Botanic Garden on Saturday 21st April. www.dunedin.govt.nz/events/garden-and-environment/wild-dunedin.
Garden Life is produced by Dunedin Botanic Garden. For further information contact Kate Caldwell.