Updated: Jan 12
As you may already have seen on my instagram, I have created a "Wildlife Station" for my garden, this is such a fun and easy project to create with kids but equally for adults too!
And boy oh boy! It has delivered!
Read on to find out just how many visitors we got!
It all started from this pretty bamboo garden arch I had, I had been trying to find a way to use it to make it a great focal point, then one day the penny dropped: "why not turn it into a Wildlife Station!?"
I started by giving it a coat of Cuprinol Shades in my favourite tone: purple pansy. I fitted it to the garden fence and placed a trellis in the back so that eventually my climbing rose can cover the whole thing.
TOP TIP: I used a garden arch but you could create yours under a pergola, or even within a big tree. Just ensure it is in a sunny spot and protected from potential attackers (cats & dogs).
I ordered a selection of bird feeders which I hung up from the arch with S-shaped hooks, making them easy to refill. I also got a bird house and an insect hotel and attached those straight to the trellis with thin wire.
A quick process and it is honestly SO rewarding! Just have a look at how much has been going on with it already, and see how you can create your own.
INSECT HOTEL - NO VACANCIES!
HOW IT WORKS
The idea is that solitary pollinators will nest in the pierced holes, the thin vertical slit in the middle makes for butterfly-only access, as for the top and bottom parts filled with straw and wood chip, these are for creepy crawlies like beetles and earwigs.
FIRST HOTEL GUESTS!
It would would seem we have attracted our first occupants! What you see in this picture appears to be leaf-cutting bees having nested inside the bamboo canes. They apparently live as solitary bees, so to reproduce they place their eggs in a safe place like this one with some nectar, block off the entrance with a leaf cut to the perfect size and leave those to incubate in the sun.The sad part is, they then go to die and will never meet their young.
A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME!
I have set up my station with different bird feeders in the hope to cater to different bird varieties. One holds a seed mix specific to small wild birds, one holds seed balls, and one holds peanuts to target slightly larger birds like the green parakeets we get in London, though I'm told I probably don't want them around as they are quite territorial, but I just love the exotic sound they make, I feel it would really complete the look of my tropical garden (smiles).
Morning time has already become "bird highway", they are at it NON - STOP!
We have had such a wide range of visitors over the weeks from robins and starlings to sparrows and of course blue tits!
The wood pigeons know they're too big to balance on the feeders so they wait patiently to collect the seeds smaller birds drop on the floor.
I went for a quirky colourful look, but obviously make it your own, you could do a very stylish monochromatic look. I have spotted these handmade hotels that look really elegant and would suit contemporary garden designs.
Above: Handmade Insect Hotel Menorca from Bird Food
Left: Handmade Natural Bamboo Hotel from Sustainable Homeware
Or this neutral Handmade Butterfly House from Not On The High Street.
Alternatively, you could of course make your own and get the kids involved! There are tonnes of videos on Youtube (this one is super easy and super cute DIY bug hotel for kids .
If your style is more modern, then here is a selection of design-led bird feeders and houses for all budgets
"If you can't be bothered to make your own bird house but want to stay on the handmade side of things, I suggest you look at the Texan Bird Box Range from Bird Food, graphic shapes with beautiful wood grain."
Finally the "piece de résistance" is this combi bird feeder / bird bath from Opossum Design (below). It will set you back a couple of hundred quid, but damn look at it! That is the Grand Design of the Bird station isn't it? Something to get your neighbours talking!
BEE MY FRIEND!
Obviously there is a lot more you can do than just bird feeders to attract wildlife, and getting your planting right is one of them!
Purple flowers is what you need! I know what you’re thinking, here I am aka The Purple Stylist, wanting to convert the whole world into my realm (smile!), but this is proven fact here, bees are actually most attracted to purple flowers simply because it is the colour that they can see the most clearly. Alliums, lavender, buddleja, and catmint will assure a high turn-out.
"Purple flowers is what you need!"
Other flowers are obviously great too, single bloom flowers are better as they offer easier access to the sought-after pollen. Bees also love things like gerberas and cone flowers as they make great natural landing pads.
Tiny flowers are surprisingly successful too! When my heucheras are flowered, the bees are busy working on them ALL - DAY - LONG!
Much like for bees, buddleja is a firm favourite for butterflies, verbena is also a great butterfly "magnet". I am told they are also fond of pink sedum, red valerian, hebe, wild marjoram and erysimum, so get those in!
FINAL TIP! If you're near the countryside you can try making 5" diameter holes at the bottom of your garden fence to allow hedgehogs to come in and sort out snails/slugs levels for you!
You can watch the step-by-step of how I created the wildlife station in the highlights over on my instagram @peacocks&flamingoes
SHOP THE LOOK!
Bamboo garden arch from Wayfair
Arch painted in Cuprinol Shades purple pansy
Butterfly House from Not On The High Street
Birdhouses Bird Food
all images copyrights to "Peacocks & Flamingoes" (pa