Wildlife gardening

Wildlife is essential to the survival of your garden; bees, beetles and other bugs pollinate your flowers, recycle nutrients and are food for those higher up the food chain. Birds and butterflies add colour and interest. You can actively encourage wildlife in to your garden by doing the following:

Add colourful flowers – Flowers provide pollen  for bees, butterflies and other insects, although a number of garden plants are just as good for wildlife as flowers are. These include buddleia, lavender and thyme.

1. Plant a variety of trees, shrubs and climbers  These give food and shelter to wildlife. Some small trees which are good for blossom and berries include crab apple and hawthorn. Ivy can also provide shelter for nesting birds, along with flowers for nectar in the autumn.

2. Look after mature trees – These trees will look after the wildlife. Older trees are incredibly important for wildlife, but If your garden is too small for big trees, try to get some planted in the neighbourhood and protect any that are there already.

3. Build a pond – You can choose to go ‘all out’ with your pond, but even just using an upturned bin lid or a sunken washing bowl filled with water will encourage pond life. Just make sure it has one sloping side to allow creatures an easy way out.

4. Build a compost heap – Compost is an invaluable tool for any gardener, encouraging healthy soil and therefore healthy greenery.  Compost heaps also provide shelter for many creatures.

5. Provide food and water for birds – You can attract a wide variety of bird life to your garden by ensuring that you provide a mixture of foods, such as peanuts, seeds and fat balls. Make sure you do this all year round.

6. Be messy – A good gardener doesn’t necessarily mean a tidy one! Leave some areas of your garden undisturbed to allow creatures such as hedgehogs, frogs and mice to shelter there. You could leave a pile of leaves in an unused corner, or let a patch of grass grow to give a home to small mammals.