Wildlife Gardening (Catherine Burgess)
Large or small, lawn or courtyard, our gardens provide a patchwork of green spaces for wildlife. There are an estimated 16 million gardens in the UK and the way these are cared for can make a big difference to wildlife.
Everyone can help wildlife in their garden. Here are our top six things to do:
1. Provide water
Water is essential for all creatures. Even a simple bird bath is a top attraction, but a pond is best of all. It will attract frogs, toads, perhaps newts, and a host of fascinating insects. Birds come to bathe and drink too.
If you're thinking of creating a pond, check out our pond page here!
2. Grow nectar rich flowers
These will feed butterflies, moths, bees and other insects
3. Make you boundaries green
Hedges link habitats together and provide vital shelter and nest sites. Many hedge plants give food for birds and mammals too. Growing climbing plants up vertical surfaces is another great way to make a boundary green. Choose plants like honeysuckle, ivy and clematis which provide food for moths and butterflies as well as nest sites for birds.
4. Feed the birds
All year round but especially in winter. Plant berry-bearing trees and shrubs for natural food, and make a feeding station with a range of foods to attract different birds.
You can purchase a wonderful range of wildlife foods through our partners Vine House Farm. Many of the wild bird foods it sells are grown on its conservation award-winning family farm in Lincolnshire. The Wildlife Trusts and Vine House Farm have a special relationship which results in 5% of all sales given to local trusts. In 2016 this raised Devon Wildlife Trust a fantastic £3,900.
5. Plant a tree
If you have space, trees are fantastic for wildlife as they provide a vertical layer for all kinds of wildlife activity, particularly for birds to nest in, feed on and as song posts.
6. Make a winter wildife home
Bug hotels, bumblebee hibernation chambers and hedgehog hibernaculum can provide a safe place for wildlife to shelter through the winter. For ideas and advice on how to create a winter wildlife home check out our creature features page and help the hog page.
The Wildlife Trusts and the RHS have set up a fantastic website all about wildlife gardening. Check it out at Wild About Gardens