Turn your space into a home for nature

Nov 19, 2021 | Activities

Nature is under threat.

We see it on the news, and we can see it in our own lives. One of the main reasons for this is humankind’s attitude towards nature and our natural environment.

But we can bring about change. And there’s so much we can do in our day-to-day lives, to maintain and restore ecosystem functions in our gardens, communities and farms.

It’s all about how we think of nature: We need to think stewardship rather than exploitation!

Left: Betty’s Bay. Image: LoveGreen Communications. Right: Cape river frog. Image: Corlie Hugo.

Here are some tips to bring about change in our own spaces

Turn your garden into biodiversity reservoirs by doing the following:

  • Grow as many indigenous plants as possible; plants evolved in partnership with the invertebrates which form the basis of the food pyramid for birds and other larger creatures.
  • Never use insecticides or pesticides that destroy invertebrates and micro-organisms that feed birds and other wildlife.
  • Allow leaf-litter to accumulate; this provides a refuge for invertebrates and retains soil moisture.
  • Don’t over-illuminate your property after dark. Bright lights lure and kill nocturnal insects. We do need some lights for security but the idea is to keep it to a minimum.
  • A natural water feature will provide habitat for dragonflies and other aquatic wildlife.
  • Create as many micro-habitats as possible in your garden, such as rotting logs, rockeries, earth banks and stone walls.
  • Place a floating log or other object in your swimming pool to reduce numbers of drowned insects, reptiles and other wildlife; always put swimming pool lights off when not necessary.

Left: Nerine sarniensis. Image: LoveGreen Communications.

You could also plant some attractive flowers to encourage bees, butterflies and other wildlife into the garden. Bees are vital to the ecosystem.

Collect the rainwater from your downpipes when the downpours inevitably start. You can use this water to care for your plants, conserving water but still giving your shrubbery the refreshing drink it needs after a sunny day. While conserving water, try to avoid using the hose and sprinklers and invest in a trusty old watering can.

With a bit of luck, your garden will soon be frequented by a host of friendly animals looking to explore and possibly even hunker down to stay a while.

Take it to the next level by installing shelters where your friendly visitors can get settled. From butterfly to hedgehog houses there’s an abundance of options to help make garden wildlife feel more comfortable and you can even make your own from scrap materials. Just be sure to position shelters for nocturnal or more timid animals in a quiet, secluded spot in the garden, somewhere out of the wind and direct sunlight to create a relaxing, restful environment.

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