The Garden's Friends
Many gardeners deal with the unfortunate fact that there are multitudes of pests that can easily destroy all the hard work they have put into their garden. These pests are often hard to control, particularly without the help of chemical pesticides. This reality often leads the gardener to want to eliminate all of nature's little critters from our gardening space. However, this tactic might not always be the most successful as some insects or birds will not only pollinate but will also eat pests. In this article, let’s take a look at some of these beneficial animals and some that are just plain fun to have around the garden.
Perhaps the most obvious addition to this list. For centuries bees have been noted as welcome additions to gardening and farming as master pollinators. Adding these small and colorful insects to your garden will only help the health of your plants, as more flowers will be produced by the tiny workers.
Attracting Bees To The Garden
Attracting bees to your garden is a relatively easy task to accomplish. Simply adding a number of colorful flowers and plants that are easy for the bees to feed from and consequently spread the pollen that they pick up on their wings is the easiest way to accomplish this goal. To increase the amount of pollination that occurs in your garden, choose a wide variety of flowers. These different flowers and pollen levels will lead to greater pollination and in turn, more bright and beautiful blooms throughout your garden.
Attracting bees to your garden is a relatively easy task to accomplish.
While variety is key, make sure also to plant some plants that are native to your location, as the native bees are much more familiar with these types of plants. Doing this, even on a small scale will increase the yield and results of the bees pollination efforts. If you are unsure about what native plants to put in your garden, or don’t have any that are suitable for your garden, some plants like basil, lavender, and especially mint are a crowd favorite among bees.
Frogs & Toads
Another staple of garden helpers, frogs and toads are a little less obvious than bees, and they are a little less pleasant for some people than bees are. These happy hoppers are experts at consuming bugs and other pests that will eat and infect your plants, consuming around 10,000 bugs each per summer. These animals will also provide this service to your garden without the need to worry about them consuming your plants or needing some particular plant to eat.
Another staple of garden helpers, frogs and toads are a little less obvious than bees
Encouraging frogs and toads to live in your garden might be a little more difficult than encouraging bees and other insects, as they are simply not quite as widespread. However, if the area around your home is already home to frogs and toads, you might just be in luck. Once they are there, you can likely count on having their assistance in your struggle with pests. Promote locations where toads and frogs are welcome to the garden, this includes small areas where they can hide from the heat of the sun, make sure that these areas contain a greater amount of moisture than others.
Ladybugs can be a gardener’s best friend if you are dealing with an infestation of pests, particularly with the ladybug’s archnemesis aphids. These bugs are relatively small and won’t take up a large part of your garden, being almost unnoticeable as they chew through pollen and other insects to feed themselves. Making these little bugs feel at home is therefore a relatively easy task once you have them in your garden.
These bugs are relatively small and won't take up a large part of your garden as they chew through pests
Bringing Ladybugs To The Garden
If you are looking to attract ladybugs to your garden, the first thing you will want to do is provide some source of food. If some pests are already present in your garden, you already (unintentionally) have the first part necessary, this will make the ladybugs more willing to check your garden out. The second thing to have is plants that produce pollen, while also having lighter colored leaves that are often broad and flat, giving the ladybugs somewhere to crawl along. If you are able to provide these conditions, there is a good chance that you will have ladybugs in the garden before the end of the summer.
If you are instead struggling to get ladybugs into your garden, or have an infestation of pests that you need to get rid of, you are always able to purchase ladybugs. When you purchase ladybugs, you will want to make sure that they are relatively dormant when you release them into the garden to prevent them from simply flying away. Keep them in a cool place so that they are not agitated and energized by the warmth, then release them either in the early morning or at dusk. Taking these precautions should be enough to keep them around an area that is full of pests. Remember that while you are trying to get rid of these pests, ladybugs will also suffer from the effects of chemical insect control.
One of the animals on this list that doesn’t do much in regards to controlling pests, these birds are a pleasant addition to most gardens. Flying at incredibly fast speeds, and showcasing a wide variety of vibrant colors, hummingbirds are one of the favorites among bird lovers. For this reason, having these wonderful little birds around your garden will certainly not hurt.
Showcasing a wide variety of vibrant colors, hummingbirds are one of the favorites among bird lovers
Hummingbirds naturally feed off of the nectar they find within flowers, so you will certainly want to have some type of flowers that will attract them to your home or garden location. While many gardeners will look for longer flowers that appear to attract more hummingbirds, you won’t necessarily need these, but look for flowers that instead provide a healthy amount of nectar. Once you have attracted the hummingbirds you can set about providing them with food from a hummingbird feeder, drawing them every closer to your home.