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ATTRACTING URBAN WILDLIFE

PRAYING MANTIS - Photograph: Mike Skellern

 

"As destructive as humans are, they still surprisingly desire to have some wildlife in their gardens, but usually only those creatures which they favour such as birds and butterflies.  Despite all our intelligence, many gardeners have not realised that nature simply doesn't operate that way, because every single creature and plant relies on some other for support.  Elimination of any one section of the environment, even in a small area such as the garden, will have a detrimental effect on others.  Our war against nature is inevitably a war against ourselves."

Charles & Julia Botha's book, Bring Nature back to your Garden, is well worth reading - again and again and again.  It will change the way you look at your world. 

INDIGENOUS PLANTS THAT ATTRACT URBAN WILDLIFE

Bush Violet

(Barleria obtusa)

This fast growing, scrambling perennial is sometimes known as the Purple Bomber and is ideal for informal sunny to semi-shade areas.  

The mauve/blue, pink or white flowers attract butterflies and game browse the leaves.

 

 

Cape Honeysuckle

(Tecomaria capensis)

This fast growing, many stemmed, rambly, evergreen ornamental shrub will grow anywhere, but flowers best in sun.  The orange or rd showy flowers are more sought after by all nectar-eaters than are those of the yellow variety.  The large variety of nectar-eating visitors even includes Spottedbacked Weavers, which pull the flowers off the plant one by one to get to the prized liquid.  The Cape Honeysuckle makes an attractive hedge plant and tolerates dry and dune environments.

 

Amtungulu or Big Num-num

(Carissa macrocarpa)

This evergreen shrub is fairly fast growing, prefers sun, tolerates salt spray, and its fierce Y-shaped thorns form an impenetrable hedge and make it a  good barrier plant.

It has scented flowers and the  red fruits, rich in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, are cherished by birds and children.

 

 

White cat's whiskers 

(Clerodendrum glabrum)

This shrub or small to medium sized tree, is fast growing and tolerates dune conditions.

The flowers have a sweet scent and the old dry fruits often remain on the tree for months (March to May) and attract insects, birds and butterflies.