Friday, July 10, 2015

Ideas for the Home Garden - Bees, Birds, and Butterflies

Since today is "Don't Step on a Bee Day" it seemed only fitting that this week's mini infographic garden idea sheet be about planning a garden for bees, butterflies, and birds. This is a big part of what we want to do with our garden and there are plenty of associated scribbles in my planning notes. You can also find my ever growing collection of green and gardening pins on the new Green in Real Life pinterest page, including a board all about gardening for bees, birds and butterflies.  No matter how big or small you garden may be, if you are growing fruits or veggies, supporting the pollinators will help you while you help them. Win win!

One of the simplest things that you can do to create a friendlier habitat is to include food sources for bees, birds, and butterflies. I have included some of the most popular options in my idea sheet below, but native plants to your area are also a great option - especially ones with nectar bearing flowers, fruits, and seeds that will help to bring local bird species into your garden. Don't forget about the changing seasons, which can be feast-and-famine for wildlife. A source of clean water is also beneficial.

Another friendly choice is limiting (or better yet eliminating) your use of pesticides, especially neonics, which are a controversial family of pesticides that many researchers believe is linked to the decline of bee populations and colony collapse disorders. We definitely have a few dubious items lurking around our place, including some mystery materials left by the previous owners.  If you are disposing of unused chemicals, please follow you local council guidelines - most have free drop-off services for safe disposal. While doing my research on friendly plants, I was surprised (although on reflection I shouldn't have been) by several articles warning gardeners that we might be killing friendly insects with our kindness. Some seeds are pre-treated, and garden centers and nurseries still use systemic pesticides that can make our new "bee friendly" plants not so friendly.  Worth keeping in mind for informed shopping choices.

Birds in particular will benefit from layering in your garden, especially where it helps to create safe places for them to perch, feed, or perhaps even nest out of the reach of predators...including your pets!  If you are keen to go the extra mile, you can include customised safe nesting options or perhaps even open your own insect hotel.  These can be as simple or as elaborate as you like.  When you are doing garden chores like pruning, end-of-season plant removals, and general clean-up be mindful of nests, larvae, etc.

Check out our follow-on post on bee-friendly gardening, including some of our successes and failures to date: 

How are you attracting and supporting bees, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife in your garden?  We'd love to heard from you and share garden ideas together.  Comments are always welcome here. 

Looking for more wildlife-friendly planning ideas and inspiration?  Want to go deeper on your favourite plants, animals, or insects? Want regional advice for your part of the world? Check out these ideas (and more) from Amazon:


  1. As promised, we just shared a pet garden post at Ideas for the Home Garden - Gardening with Pets My canine helpers are keen to get the planting started, even it it means that they have to do some of the dirty work. They are always happy to lend a hand with the digging!

  2. Very interesting blog. Alot of blogs I these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.Jupiter FL


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