We're all excited about colorful flowering corners and meadows that are buzzing with life. Does it matter which plants we bring into our garden? The main thing is colorful and a visual feast for the eyes?
It is not quite like that. True, a diverse garden is usually more attractive than a monotonous one with lawns and topiary hedges around it. Nevertheless, not all plants are equally well suited to provide food and habitat for our native wildlife.

The key word is "coevolution." Over many millennia, animals and plants have co-evolved and developed mutual dependencies and symbioses. A great many specialists have evolved - the caterpillar food plants of butterflies are a good example. Butterfly caterpillars can't do much with exotic species and also with many of our native wild plant species that have been highly refined in cultivars.

Swallowtail caterpillar

For example, the swallowtail caterpillar subscribes to the wild carrot, (Daucus carota) one of the parent plants of our present-day carrot. Without wild carrot, none of these elaborate caterpillars; without these caterpillars, no swallowtails. Although until a few decades ago the wild carrot was to be found at every wayside, on every rubble patch, its distribution has declined greatly due to the intensive use of our landscape.

Wild carrot

So if you want to promote biodiversity, you should stock your garden with as high a proportion of wild plants as possible, and in this way "plant animals", as Ulrike Aufderheide has put it so well (see also literature tips). On average, ten animal species benefit from each native plant.