The good the bad and the ugly

Tip for bringing the “good” guys to your garden and ideas on how to minimize the “bad” guys.
Even the best gardener has to be on their guard to keep those pesky plant eaters at bay, but you can try a few things to try and keep these “bad “guys at a minimum and on someone else’s plants!! It is well documented that to encourage wildlife you need to only do a few simple things – plant wild flowers, tress, provide hedges, nesting boxes and bird feeders. Without the mention of the “bad” guys that might also arrive. From the larger animals; squirrels stealing your bird seed and slugs getting your newly introduced plants.

Specific types of plants can encourage the “good” guys of the bug world or what are termed beneficial predators – basically they keep the “bad” guys at bay. These bugs include ladybird’s hoverflies, ground beetles and damsel bugs. These types of beneficial predators need plants like caraway, fennel, spearmint, catmint, alyssum and marigolds. These plants can be mixed into boarders/large pots around the plants you want to protect. Making sure that these beneficial predators have a home and a ready source of food from the neighbouring plants. Insectary plants are also a good idea they can be basically described as plants with lots of very small flowers for example angelica and fennel. These plants specifically encourage parasitic wasps that can really help in the fight against caterpillars (amongst other things). They also help the garden increase its pollen resources and nectar availability that will only increase your gardens attractiveness to wildlife.

It is amazing how just a few plants will bring in bee’s butterflies and birds. Now squirrels are a destructive bunch not only stealing bird seed but eating plants and digging up soil. They can be deterred by planting daffodils, geraniums, hyacinth. If drastic measures are called for you can use stakes in the ground and chicken wire. Bird feeders can be adapted to keep squirrels out and some are even sold for that purpose. It is best to find out why the squirrels are coming in and see what measures need to be taken. There is nothing worse than the sight of newly planted out pot or wall planter being destroyed in minutes by these furry menaces.

Yes slugs and snails these slimy buggers can decimate your plants then craftily hide away using their natural camouflage. You can try to encourage animals that like to eat slugs and snails by creating a pond or boggy area; this will attract newts toads and hedgehogs that will feast on the slimy fiends! But if that is not possible and you have limited space you could go for a natural alternative to put a ring of gravel around the planting you want to protect. Or (if you’re a night owl) you could go out after dark and search out the slimy guys as the are supposed to be most active in the nigh time. I imagine this would the most satisfying way to take the battle for the garden to them!!

The fight is real and lets hope we can swing it back towards you and the “good” guys of the garden!!

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