A wildlife friendly garden
Most of us wish we had more wildlife in our gardens to enjoy and you will be pleased to know that whether you’re in the stages of planning your garden design or adapting your existing garden, there are steps you can take to encourage them into your space.
It can be very interesting to watch the different types of creatures and to learn their behavioural patterns. You can become familiar with how different wildlife interact with each other as well as their natural habitats. Many creatures will also help to pollinate your plants and therefore create a rich ecosystem within your garden.
Most of us have areas in our gardens that naturally attract wildlife and these existing spaces can simply be enhanced. If you have a compost area then it’s possible it is being used by slow worms and hedgehogs for hibernation. Ensure that you regularly top-up your compost piles with grass and plant cuttings so there will be a constant safe house for them. Garden ponds provide more benefits than just a beautiful water feature, they offer the opportunity for birds to bathe and are also a welcome water source for them. Try to keep water levels in ponds and water features high, especially in the warm months. Birds will learn that your garden is a reliable source and will return again and again. Log piles provide an ideal home for beetles, toads and frogs and you can quite often find them hiding in these warm and safe areas. Again, you can ensure you support these creatures by keeping the log pile topped up. One thing to be aware of is that hedgehogs sometimes like to set up home in the warm comfort of an unlit bonfire, so always check before lighting one.
Many people have a misconception that wildlife friendly gardens are over-grown or untouched, however this doesn’t have to be the case at all. You can encourage wildlife into your gardens by simply choosing the right plants and flowers to provide them with a food source. Fruit bushes are a very good source of food for birds and mammals alike, herbs such as fennel and dill also attract insects. The seedheads of sunflowers provide birds with food, while buddleia plants – also known as ‘the butterfly bush’- and aster flowers all provide rich nectar for wildlife so are great options for your garden.
Planning and maintaining a wildlife friendly garden can be a very rewarding task. Not only are you knowingly creating a safe environment for the wildlife, with an abundance of food, but you also get to sit back and watch the creatures enjoy the nurturing habitat that you have created for them.