Article contributed by Roots & Shoots.
Malaysia is highly ranked amongst the world’s countries that are considered mega-biodiverse. Our country is packed with all sorts of life forms – even some that are useful like bees, and some which bring us pleasure like birds.
But many Malaysians are not aware that even in our own gardens in urban areas, we can grow various plants to attract some amazing wildlife that will immediately transform our houses into homes that are straight from the pages of a tropical paradise book!
These mesmerising insects not only bring a feeling of zen to your home, but they also prey on other insects such as mosquitoes, flies, and midges, to keep your pest population under control.
They come in all sorts of beautiful colours – from fuchsia and electro blue, to shiny gold and iridescent rainbow hues. They will immediately brighten up your living area.
Dragonflies love water and will be attracted to any water feature that you put out in the sun for them. It will also help if you can grow some water plants like water lilies, so that they also have place to perch.
Any front lawn can be transformed into a mini oasis with the inclusion of a small water feature and ‘zooming’ visits from these sparkling beauties.
Although Malaysia does not have hummingbirds, we do have our own version of tiny colourful nectar drinkers, called Sunbirds. And they come in a wide variety of colours.
They have a lovely whistle that will let you know that they’re in your garden, and if you’re lucky enough, they may even create a little hanging nest in your compound!
These birds are nectar drinkers – so they will only come and make a home if the right kinds of flowering plants are provided for them.
They tend to prefer the flowers of the Indian Head Ginger, the Devil’s Backbone plant, as well as the Hibiscus. Brighten up your garden by attracting these beautiful winged visitors.
3) Honey Bees
Most bees do not intentionally sting humans, which is contrary to popular belief! If you would like a thriving garden area, they are an essential component to ensure your garden plants remain happy and healthy.
They are pollinators and are attracted to flowers like the Hibiscus and the Coral Vine. Make sure to plant a wide variety of colourful flowers and plants, as bees have good colour vision to help them find the nectar and pollen.
They will ensure that your plants remain vibrant, and they can be fascinating to watch as well. In fact, without bees, our world’s food supply would be poorer and less nutritious!
You can also consider keeping your own little beehive to provide you with a regular honey collection, if you have sufficient space.
A home with fluttering butterflies is a guaranteed way to bring you lots of calm and good vibes. Who doesn’t enjoy the gentle fluttering of multi-coloured wings as they make their way through your garden?
Even the great Sir David Attenborough, naturalist and veteran broadcaster, agrees that taking some time to watch them can be good for our mental health!
Malaysia has over 1,000 species of these beautiful creatures, and your home could be a haven for them too. As pollinators, they are also attracted to most flowering plants, especially the Hibiscus.
However, they are also very sensitive to pollutants like pesticides. So in order to attract them, do consider planting tropical flowering plants, as well as use organic materials to fertilise and them.
5) Magpie Robins, Bee Eaters And Other Birds
Because Malaysia is so incredibly biodiverse, we have many species of birds who will also visit your home that will immediately brighten up your day.
One of the most beautiful songbirds is the Oriental Magpie Robin. They are known for their melodious birdsong, and it is a joy to wake up to their singing.
Other more colourful birds like Bee Eaters, Orioles, and Woodpeckers also do swing by if you are able to provide them with tree cover.
They require tall trees and shrubs, not just for shelter and their nests, but also for a perch to look for their prey like flying insects.
Having a variety of feathered visitors to your garden will instantly transform your garden and home into a tropical paradise for your pleasure.
We cannot begin to stress how important this gorgeously vibrant bug (they come in red, yellow, orange, or even BLUE) is for the health of your plants, because they’re one of Mother Nature’s most effective pest hunters!
Did you know that a single ladybug is able to eat up to 5,000 insects in its lifetime? Think of them as tiny, pretty bodyguards for your precious plants.
Like the other beneficial bugs, avoid spraying pesticides as you won’t only be killing their food source, you’ll be getting rid of them too.
You can attract them to your garden with pollen-rich blooms such as dill, marigold, and cilantro. In addition, a shallow water source like a shallow plate will attract them to stop and rehydrate.
Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is a youth-led action programme aimed at young people of all ages. The programme was founded in 1991 by Dr Jane Goodall under the Jane Goodall Institute, and it promotes the values of compassion and respect for all living things, as well as intercultural understanding and solidarity among all peoples. You can find out more at rootsandshootsaward.my, follow them on Facebook (Roots & Shoots Malaysia), or Instagram (rootsandshootsmy).
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