There are many beneficial garden visitors that help your plants thrive. Often we think of insects only, but there are lots of other critters that can aid your garden. These visitors range from insects and birds to snakes. I have compiled a list of some common ones so you can be aware of how they help your garden flourish.
Top beneficial garden visitors
When we think of beneficial bugs we immediately picture butterflies, bees, and ladybugs. There are many other bugs that help your garden. Here are a few.
Bee – pollination, honey production
Butterfly – pollination, beautify
Dragonfly – eat termites and swarming ants, as well as other harmful insects. They are also way cool.
Green Lacewing – eats aphids
Ladybug/beetle – eat aphids and other insects
Praying mantis – eat bugs and many larger critters. They are creepy cool and have a lot of personality.
Spiders – trap insects in their web and dispose of them. They will also eat larger prey.
Many birds are beneficial to your garden. Robins, wrens, baby cardinals, bluebirds, chickadees and titmice all feed on insects. Another benefit to attracting birds is they are beautiful and have been known to alleviate stress. Then there is the whole pollination thing, especially with hummingbirds, so that makes them good little garden buddies.
Many people fear snakes and some should be avoided. There are beneficial snakes that will rid your garden of rodents and insects. The most common being the Garter snake and Rat snake which are harmless and very shy of humans. If you can get past the squeamishness, you may see how cool snakes are and that they really help out around the garden. I have one that visits occasionally. I give him space and he never bothers me. My hope is he will help me with my chipmunk problem but so far they are still plentiful. Remember, chipmunks are not cute and friendly like in cartoons.
Toads have a hearty appetite and can help keep your garden clean. They eat all kinds of insects and are active at night when a lot of damage is done to your garden. Think of them as tiny nighttime guard dogs.
How to attract these visitors
There are many ways to attract beneficial garden visitors. The easiest is to grow flowers in your garden. Most birds and insects love the nectar and the more flowers you have the larger the variety of visitors you will attract. Butterfly bushes will attract, well butterflies. They will also attract bees, moths, and hummingbirds. Lantana is another favorite of these visitors and is hearty even in very hot climates.
Water is another important factor. Having a bird feeder with shallow water will help all kinds of creatures thrive, especially in the summer heat. Drip irrigation and watering leave small puddles of water for your garden visitors to enjoy. In addition to water, having areas with shade and protection will aid them. I have ferns that grow low to the ground and provide a break from the summer heat for many critters like lizards. Mulch around plants also keeps moisture available and a place for them to hide from the heat.
There is so much more going on in our gardens than we even know. It is a battle between destructive insects and beneficial creatures that wages both day and night. In order for our plants to survive it is important we keep a balance in the garden. The best way to do that is to have a good mix of beneficial garden visitors and aid them with things like water, shelter, and nectar. Luckily it is very easy to do by planting flowers, watering, and mulching.
I really enjoy seeing the pretty birds, butterflies and other critters working hard in my garden. Hopefully, this information will help you make an inviting environment in your garden.