Many gardeners complain that they no longer see birds or butterflies in their gardens. Often the same ones who mow their lawn twice a week to have a pristine lawn instead of letting it rot, the same ones who prefer the order of a thuja hedge to the freedom to grow out of a flowering hedge. , the same ones who plant exotic shrubs rather than native species … just the opposite of what you have to do to develop a living garden!
Install local plants
Look around your home, gardens, and fields nearby. Look out for plants, trees, and shrubs that grow well there. If they’re doing well behind the party fence, there’s no reason why they can’t do the same for you. The native species are always more rustic and adapted. They therefore require less attention than plants from around the world.
These native plants are essential links in a living garden. They provide food and habitat for a wide variety of animal species, not all of which are visible to the naked eye. The swallowtail caterpillar, for example, needs host plants from the Apiaceae family (carrot, fennel, etc., wild or cultivated) to thrive and transform into one of the most beautiful butterflies in Europe.
The same umbellifers also provide food for the harlequin beetles that heap on their flower heads.
The ecological interest of hedges
The hedgerows are a refuge for birds and small mammals. They particularly like hedges, which are a mix of evergreen and deciduous shrubs. With a sufficient variety of plants, you will find many berries and seeds there almost all year round.
The hedge also pleases a lot of insects (aphids, caterpillars, adult butterflies, etc.). All of this fauna attracts birds like titmice, for whom insects are an abundant source of food.
The hedge, with its dense foliage and tangle of branches, is not just a pantry for birds. It also provides shelter to take refuge, build their nests, and raise their young out of the reach of predators.
This diversity of plants and animals must be taken into account upstream. If your garden is in the Ile-de-France region, you can ask a landscaper in the Yvelines for help. He is used to designing ecological gardens.
Landscaping and creating a living garden go hand in hand. Mineralized spaces, even concreted, can indeed work together with wilder corners where there is a space of freedom frequented by many insects and animals. It’s all about balance.
For example, don’t mow your entire lawn. Grow areas of tall grass. Seed grasses provide shelter and shelter for many insects. The seeds that have fallen on the ground attract other birds even in winter!
If you want to add undeniable decorative added value, sow a mixture of annual and perennial seeds in a bed. By creating a flowery fallow area in various striking corners, you break up the monochrome effect of the lawn and at the same time enable many animals to have a good life in your garden!
No more treatment!
Every plant has a use in a garden. Every insect too! Colonies of pests and parasites reflect imbalances or unsuitable growth conditions. We now have to mourn a perfectly manicured garden that is too “square”. The excessive drifts of the last few decades have shown us how important it is to give every plant a place.
Leave your thermal herbicide or herbal weed killer aside. In any case, its effectiveness is almost zero. Instead, chop or pull out only the plants that are bothering the most because they will compete with those you want to see grow. If they don’t bother anyone, especially the surrounding plants, why not? Many of these native plants bloom beautifully. All of them are useful.
Also, don’t jump on your sprayer at the slightest infestation of aphids. If your garden is alive, ladybug larvae, lacewing, or titmouse will quickly regulate the populations and naturally correct the problem.
A pond in the garden is a place of life
Water is vital. The arrangement of a pond in your garden offers interesting added value for its biodiversity.
Depending on the size, you can install more or less voluminous ornamental aquatic plants such as water lilies, swamp irises, papyrus … This new habitat is quickly populated by amphibians: small reptiles, toads … and frequented by reptiles. Fish can also settle there if the depth is sufficient so that the water does not freeze in winter.
Traditional masonry remains the best solution to create a basin with geometric shapes. Brick walls or concrete blocks assembled with mortar are sufficient. Then they are covered with a water-repellent coating. Reinforcements on the back ensure good resistance of the walls under water pressure. These precautions are of a technical nature. Do not hesitate to seek advice from landscapers.
Take advantage of the discoveries you will make
A living garden is a great source of discovery and learning for children and adults alike.
With them, you will probably have the opportunity to hear new melodious songs, follow the evolution of a blackcap litter, discover the manners of a hedgehog, a praying mantis, and maybe even cross the street of a very beautiful insect, which, unfortunately, is critically endangered : the Rosalie of the Alps.