I'm currently writing a book of plants for wildlife: herbaceous, shrubs, and trees. I love it. Most of the info is coming from the following sources: RSPB Gardening for Wildlife, RHS encyclopedia, Bringing a Garden to Life by Jenny Steel as well as her other books, Creating a Wildlife Garden by Bob and Liz Gibbons and the National Trust Wild Flower Gardening. In addition to these books I'm also surfing the net looking at Garden Organic's bee border, Wildlife Trust sites and anywhere that crops up....I'm currently at 126 plants which help to sustain both invertebrates and other animals such as birds and mammals.
Although the current interest (fad?) is for providing nectar for bees, there's so much more to it and I'm still only scratching the surface, but what I found interesting is that what is listed on the RHS site as a pest is more often than not, noted as somehing of value in the wildlife books. For example, RHS says that Salix caprea (Goat Willow) gets the following pests: aphids, caterpillars, leaf beetles and saw flies. In my RSPB book it says willows are host to "all sorts of aphids, gall mites...and the seeds are taken by finches". Granted, saw flies turned my patio rose into a skeleton last year and the aphids are voracious, but as the RHS website says, " fewer than 1% of Britain's insects are garden pests".
As I research each plant the list of associations between a certain plant and insect or other animal is huge: for some it's just nectar/pollen, for others it's seeds/fruit, others eat the foliage as larvae and others use the dense structure as nesting sites/perching.
Is it spring yet?? Everything's hiding!