Your garden space acts as your sanctuary – when you sit in the garden you can feel an instant calm and gratitude for nature and growth. One of the highlights of being amongst the greenery is spotting birds, butterflies and colourful insects that are enjoying your garden as much as you are.
Planning your ecology of your garden will help attract the right birds and insects, placing an even balance on the growth of your plants and the wellbeing of wildlife – you might even attract a wise old owl if you’re lucky!
How to naturally attract native birds with plants
Having some basic knowledge about what birds like to eat is an advantage when trying to bring them to your garden. Generally, bird diets are placed into four categories: insect feeding, nectar feeding, fruit/seed feeding and carnivorous i.e. insects, worms, small frogs and lizards. While working out the ecology of your garden, try to use the carnivorous birds as natural pest controllers, this way you won’t need to add harmful insecticide to your plants.
Making your garden a hot spot for native birds will not only attract insect eating birds, but nectar eating birds as they enjoy the same native plants. Adding a variety of plants and trees to your garden will broaden your variety of birds visiting; try planting Grevilleas, Melaleucas, Callistemons (bottle brush) and Correas around the backyard.
Native shrubs that have a long flower life also encourages birds to revisit your garden while assisting in cross-pollination, providing seed formation and attracting seed-eating birds. Your local nursery can help you find trees, shrubs and plants that maximise flowers year round and attract birds in your area.
Attracting birds while protecting them with your garden
The birds attracted to your garden are often prey for larger birds or wildlife, so providing them with a safe space to eat, play and sing is vital to their wellbeing. Planting a mix of ground covers, wildflowers, small shrubs and trees provides a safe space for native birds – your local nursery may help you find the best suited shrubs for protecting birds. Check out what birds are native to your area and what they prefer to feed on, this way you can plan accordingly and reap the rewards.
Another tip is to provide birds with a lovely, tall bird bath that is in proximity to your dense shrubbery; it gives them a chance to cool off in the summer and head back to safety when needed. Choose a bird bath that is high enough that predators cannot reach and close enough to shrubbery that won’t scare the birds away.
Best plants and flowers to attract butterflies
Having butterflies in your garden can bring so much joy, putting a guaranteed smile on your face every time you spot one fluttering around the greenery. Naturally, butterflies are attracted to plants and flowers that provide fantastic colour, scent and taste – but you’ll need to let the caterpillars turn into butterflies first.
While caterpillars might chew through almost every leaf or flower in your patch, it’s essential to their growth and wellbeing; allowing them to feed in your garden will offer benefits of beautiful butterflies in the long run. While birds are attracted to native shrubs that are nectar-rich, so too are butterflies.
Planting shrubs like buddleia (known as butterfly bush), daisies, marigolds, sunflowers, kangaroo paw, lavender, verbena, banksia, tea-tree and wattles will offer an abundance of colour, scent and taste perfect for a butterfly and native bird sanctuary.