Friday, September 5, 2008

Gardening for Native Wildlife


Above: Black-veined Tiger Butterfly and Plain Tiger Butterfly feeding on nectar from the Indian Turnsole, a wildflower. Photo by Angie Ng.


Did you know that a pretty garden pond with a fountain tends not to be the ideal habitat for our native fish, frogs and toads? A naturally “messy” eco-pond overgrown with pond weeds is more what these animals consider their ideal home, and where they will likely build their nests and rear their young ones.



Above: Grow Torch Ginger (Bunga Kantan) in your garden and Crimson sunbirds will visit to sip nectar from the ginger flowers. Photo by Y C Wee.


Many ornamental and hybridised plants are bred only for their showy flowers, not for their natural nectar-producing capabilities. Thus butterflies, moths, sunbirds and honeybees that survive on nectar depend on native wildflowers for their food.



Above: Common Palm Civets will visit Cherry Trees for their ripe berries. Photo by Chan Kwok Wai.


How can we make a difference for native wildlife?
• Grow native plant species in your garden, below your windowsill, along your corridor and in your balcony. Native wildlife will naturally recognise them as food sources and will visit.
• Be generous, allow a portion of your garden to grow wild. Wildflowers will naturally colonise this patch and wildlife will tend to stop by and stay.
• Create an eco-pond. Water is life for our native species of frogs, toads, dragonflies and damselflies and where they complete their life cycles. It’s also a source of clean drinking water for thirsty wildlife.
• Go organic! Do not use chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilisers in your garden. They kill wildlife and their toxins are harmful to you and your family. Do choose to use more natural, herb-based options available.
• Always go for a non-chemical option. For instance, instead of fogging with chemicals, have fish in your pond to eat up mosquito larvae. Many herb and spice plants such as Citronella Grass and Tea Tree repel pest insects.



Above: Common Fruit Bats love to roost under fan palms. Photo by Chan Kwok Wai.


How Cicada Tree Eco-Place can help you make a difference:

We provide eco-gardening services like
• Creating an eco-garden for your home, office or school
• Creating herb, spice, fruit and water gardens.
• Conducting native plant identification guided field trips.
• Conducting native plant propagation and gardening workshops.
• Conducting kids’ fun Flora Exploration sessions.


For enquiries and program registration, please email andrew.tay@pacific.net.sg or call 9 856 2262.


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