Jun 11, 2019

How to lend a helping hand to hawk moths, birds and bees

Here are some ideas for garden plants that will help to encourage and feed our precious wildlife. You don't even need a large garden or lawn space as many of these nutritious plants can be grown in pots. As long as there's plenty of sunlight and you remember to water them each day you should be rewarded with lots of interesting and grateful visitors.

Hummingbird Hawk Moths are a real treat to see and, as they visit the same flowers about the same time each day, you can be sure that if you've spotted one in your garden there's a very high chance that you'll see it again tomorrow! Thanks to their extra long proboscis these beauties are able to tap into deeper nectar reserves that other insects can't reach. Their favourite plants are galium and rubia but they also love honeysuckle, buddleia, primulas, red valerian and jasmine which are all gorgeous visually and some are wonderfully perfumed additions to any garden.

It's important to help the birds along too as their habitat is also diminishing. They need places to nest and plenty of scrumptious things to eat. So in addition to putting out bird feeders you can also add berry plants to your garden that provide some extra juicy, natural nutrition. Hawthorn, holly, dog rose, elderberries, cotoneaster, honeysuckle, and even ivy will all keep these two-legged visitors chirpy.

And the lovely thing about helping bees to find nectar is that they reward you handsomely with food to eat. It's a perfect harmony so if you fancy giving these little fellows a hand here are some of the plants that they'll love you for planting for them. Lots of lavender is always a popular attraction, smells great, looks striking, and you can do so much with the flowers at the end of the season including making a relaxing tea and flavoured sugar. Bees also love apple and cherry blossoms, as well as Sicilian honey garlic which is a delicate but nectar-rich flowering plant that a particular type of bumble bee will be very happy to find. Your garden will also be a massive hit with the buzz community if you provide foxgloves, chives, heathers, and globe artichokes (just don't eat the foxgloves as they're poisonous to humans in raw form).

It's not all about summer activity either. An extra nice thing to do is to leave finished flower heads as they are as winter approaches. The seed heads provide a super rich and vital source of food for birds and lots of insects need such places to nestle in. Feeling the love with some new garden goodies already!