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Wildlife > Gardening

Gardening for Wildlife

There are many practical ways to enhance your garden for wildlife, whether you have a window box, a balcony, a yard, or a larger garden space you can utilize.


We have plenty of ideas on how you can help nature from planting flowers, bird feeders and hedgehog boxes, to building ponds.

Cultivating a garden to attract wildlife can be a source of enormous pleasure. It also makes a small yet vitally important contribution to counter the wide scale loss of wildlife habitats. Animals require food, water, shelter, and sites to nest or roost. Large areas of weed-free mown lawn may look better than gardens that have been paved over but they offer next to nothing for wildlife.



Planning

It’s usually a good thing to draw up a rough plan of changes you wish to make, especially if you have a garden you plan to transform. You'll also have a record of where particular plant species are and when's the best time to prune them etc. You might go all out and turn your garden into a mini nature reserve, or you just make a few tweaks to work with what you have and what is physically and financially possible. Identify which features you wish to retain, and what areas that can be developed. Ponds make excellent habitats and a wonderful feature to a garden. If you have bare fencing consider trellises and climbing plants. Large patios are often unnecessary. Instead consider lifting some up, or cover it with potted plants, raised beds etc.

Plants

If you’ve ever been at a garden centre and seen bees busying themselves over certain plants, then you’re guaranteed these will be winners! Exotic and plants non-native to Britain are less likely to be of benefit. Grow a mixture of trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Ponds

This is can be a low cost and significant part of your wildlife garden, and it certainly won’t be a large pond with advanced water filtration systems filled with expensive Koi carp requiring daily feeding. A wildlife friendly pond largely takes care of itself.

Wood pile

A pile of logs in a shady spot is a perfect habitat for insects such as beetles and their grubs, and many species of fungi. This has the added benefit of adding a rustic touch to your space.


Bird feeder and bird bath

Another low cost solution to attract birds into your garden. Garden centres, ironmongers, and pet shops sell these for just a few pounds as well as bags of bird feed. Also consider a place for birds to drink from. Bird baths are a nice architectural touch but could easilly be a bowl of water or an inverted dustbin lid.

Grass areas

Allow some parts of your lawn to grow long. Not only are daisies and dandelions quite beautiful, you'll provide shelter and areas of interest for small mammals.