Did you know, that in England, all of the gardens across the country account for a total area that is larger than all of England’s National Nature Reserves combined, according to The Wildlife Trusts. This means looking after our own outdoor space is more important than ever!
This research goes on to explain that how we plant our gardens matters a great deal when it comes to supporting our wildlife, as well as our wellbeing.
With this in mind, we’ve pulled together some helpful tips that you can implement, whether in your garden, on your balcony or even in a window box to create a haven for wildlife and to help support the biodiversity in your area.
Plant a variety of butterfly and bee friendly flowers
Diversity is key when planting your garden, as a range of flowers and plants will attract a variety of insects and other creatures to your garden. Having a mixture of plants that flower and fruit during different seasons, will provide food and nectar for insects and birds throughout the year while also attracting different species.
You can also choose plants and flowers that are known to provide nectar to pollinators like bees and butterflies throughout the year. One way of introducing a variety of butterfly and bee-friendly flowers into your garden is to plant a mini wildflower meadow with native British wildflowers. Letting an area of your garden grow a bit wilder can also bring other benefits to the wildlife in your garden as the longer grass provides a habitat and a place to nest for insects.
If you don’t have a garden or are pushed for space, you can still give the pollinators in your area a boost by planting a window box or a pot on your balcony with wildflowers.
Adding a small pond, bird bath or even a pot of water to your garden can provide a habitat for amphibians such as frogs and newts to thrive in. This will provide a valuable source of water and a place to bath for the birds. In the summer months, a pond or water feature is not only a beautiful feature but can also attract dragonflies to your outdoor space.
Plant a tree or a shrub and leave existing trees and shrubs in place
Larger plants such as trees, shrubs and bushes are important habitats for a wide range of species as they provide shelter and a place to nest. Try to leave any existing trees and shrubs and consider whether there are places that you could plant new trees or bushes where there aren’t already.
Many tree species produce flowers and fruits that offer nectar and sustenance to pollinators and birds. Try planting a crab apple, blackthorn or hawthorn tree, all of which produce blossom and fruit, and are native to Britain.
Make some small additions to your garden to support biodiversity
There are a number of extras that you could consider adding to your garden to provide a habitat and a source of food for the wildlife in your area. Adding a bird feeder is a great way of providing food to your local bird population, particularly in the winter months when other food sources are scarce. You could even make your own bird feeder from a reused plastic bottle; go to the Natural History Museum website to find out more about how you could upcycle your used plastic bottles.
A log pile is another great addition to your garden as it provides somewhere for small creatures to hide and hibernate in and the conditions for fungi to thrive. It is important to put the log pile in a shady part of the garden away from sunlight. For more tips on how to make a your garden just right for wildlife visit https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/gardening-for-wildlife/
Create a compost heap
Similar to adding a log pile, adding a compost heap provides shelter to wildlife and the heat generated by the decomposition process makes a compost heap a warm place for small creatures to hibernate in the winter. Composting is also a great way of recycling the nutrients from your kitchen and garden waste into rich soil for the garden, reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill at the same time.
To find out more about how you can create a compost heap using food waste from the kitchen and cuttings and clippings from your garden click here.