Tips for cre­at­ing bio­di­verse gar­den

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - LIFE SKILLS - DUN­CAN BUTCHART

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.

Pic­ture: Sup­plied

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