Tips for creating biodiverse garden
1. Grow as many plants native to your immediate surroundings as possible; these plants evolved in partnership with the invertebrates that form the basis of the food pyramid for birds and other larger creatures.
2. Never use insecticides or pesticides that destroy invertebrates and microorganisms that feed birds and other wildlife.
3. Allow leaf-litter to accumulate; this provides a refuge for invertebrates and retains soil moisture.
4. Do not over-illuminate your property after dark. Bright lights lure and kill nocturnal insects. Although there may be a shortterm benefit for predatory spiders, geckos and owls (which are attracted to lights for this reason); we do need lights for security but the idea is to keep it to minimum.
5. Create as many microhabitats as possible in your garden, such as rotting logs, rockeries, earth banks and stone walls.
6. A natural water feature will provide habitat for dragonflies and other aquatic wildlife.
7. Cultivate flowering plants attractive to butterflies and bees, even if they do not occur naturally in your area.
8. Do not allow invasive alien plants to grow – their seeds will be transported further afield by the wind or birds.
9. 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.
10. Encourage your neighbours to follow your example and extend the size of biodiversity.
Butchart is the author of Garden Birds in Southern Africa.
A Cape sparrow.