Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Can You Attract Wildlife If You Only Have A Patio Garden or Window Box?

Some people may say that its all very well talking about gardening and attracting wildlife if you have a large garden with many different areas but what if you have a patio area or a window box, is it still possible to be a wildlife gardener? 


To this I would say Yes absolutely! Every person in every type of garden can attract wildlife  and can grow something that some kind of wildlife will see as a great food source or shelter.



If you have a patio garden, no grass, no shrubs or trees literally all paved over, you can still have a wildlife haven.


Bird Bath. A bird bath on the patio will provide water for birds and a place for them to bathe and keep their feathers clean which is incredibly important. People often talk about feeding the birds but a bird bath is just as important if not more so and less people have them in gardens. So yes even in a tiny space you can have a bird bath, there are many different designs and sizes. 


A Bird In The Bath Greeting Card
A Bird In The Bath Greeting Card by RaintreeDesigns
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If ordering in UK please use this link A Bird in The Bath Greeting Card By Raintree Designs

 
Bird feeder. If you can have a feeder attached to a window or a nail in to a wall or fence then you can have a bird feeder. Again there are so many different styles and if it is going to be on a small patio then you will want it to be decorative or stylish,  nice to look at and you have so many choices. A beautiful one is considered here Gift Of A Gorgeous Decorative Wooden Bird Feeder   


Bug house. If you want to be able to have a place that bugs, lacewings, beetles etc can overwinter and make a home in, you can buy commercial bug houses and some of them look very pretty indeed. You can also make your own it all depends on your wish to do it and simple bug house design knowledge.  


Pots Of Flowers. Pots Of Herbs. If you have space for three of four pots then you can make space for flowers the wildlife butterflies and bees will love. I routinely grow Lavender in pots. 



I try to buy terracotta pots but I do use plastic ones as well. We have heavy clay soil and while I do grow Lavender in the soil it does not last as long as if I grow it in a pot,as it really likes light, well drained soil,  so I do both. So you can grow Lavender. Equally you can grow Rosemary in a large pot and free well draining soil. Other herbs like thyme, curry plant, chives,mint and sage can also be grown. Most herbs like a sunny spot.



I would advise keeping mint in a separate pot as it can be a thug and outgrow other plants. Do not let mint get into the soil of a garden or you may find it everywhere! In a pot it is great and contained.  


You have a large choice of flowers and most can be grown in a pot so marigolds, daffodils, crocus, hyacinth, cornflowers, poppies, whatever you like really can be grown in pots including may wildflowers from seed. I would say though that the bigger the pot the more impact the flowers will have and the easier it will be on you regarding care and watering needs. Three large pots in my opinion are better than six small ones. 



You can easily have a large pot planted up with daffodil bulbs, snowdrop bulbs, a lavender and wildflower seeds sown on the top. There are so many seeds to choose from The Promise Of Seeds A Thoughtful Gift has ideas. I often grow seeds in pots again due to our very heavy soil seeds often struggle, so containers are an easy solution. 



Large Planters With Climbers. If you have room for a very large planter and a wall you could even grow honeysuckle or jasmine up the wall. In fact we did that for several years and one year when the plant was mature a blackbird made her nest about eight or nine feet up in the honeysuckle! 



If you are using planters you will just need to be careful about the needs of the plant. Most herbs do quite well in planters as long as its free draining. It is best to read up the needs of other flowers and to understand their feeding and watering needs and check on them every day especially for water in the summer as they rely on you for all their needs. 



If you have a balcony or window box equally you can grow whatever flowers and herbs you want within the space and if it suits their needs. Just make sure that the planter does not become too heavy and you may want to use lightweight soil and a tray for drainage spills.



Hanging baskets can be amazing in summer and can be adapted for nearly all round use as well so be creative and use every inch of space you have. The wildlife will find you if you provide some food, water and shelter. 




Butterfly On Flowers Postcard
Butterfly On Flowers Postcard by RaintreeDesigns
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If ordering in UK please use this link  Butterfly On Flowers Postcard By Raintree Designs.

Pond. If you like you can even have a water feature. A half barrel or plastic container that is waterproof can be mae in to a little pond for wildlife. You need t add oxygenating plants, a few tall reeds, a small waterlily is always lovely. Then you need a means of escape for small critters like large stones and a plank. Fill it with rainwater , not tapwater. I will be talking more abot ponds later but do bear it in mind if you do not have one, it is possible in a small patio.


Of course if you like you can have all these features, or maybe you are thinking it is going to be a little too crowded!


If you know your neighbours maybe you can discuss sharing with them, one having a bird feeder and another a bird bath, different wildflowers in pots , one a water feature. The wildlife do not see boundaries like we do and will happily move between gardens for their food, water, shelter. So if you speak to your neighbours and they appreciate wildlife like you do, it may be worth a try!


So just a few ideas about how to attract wildlife into a small patio area or balcony. I will go into more detail on several of these ideas in future posts.


How do you like to attract wildlife to your garden?   

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