When I was younger I loved walking along an old canal that runs threw our village.
In the hazy summer warmth the pollen rich air would smell so sweet, and the water of the canal would be literally be buzzing with dazzling blue dragon and damselflies, water boatman, frogs and all manner of other beautiful bugs as well as bird song.
Fast forward 30 years and that same canal is still and sterile looking.
Flies and midgies (the famous Scottish mosquito type bug) are the only wildlife to be seen, they swarm in your face and its a very off putting experience.
Our kids are learning how to care for this world from us.
Learn them the best way to work in balance with nature now for the benefit to all of us.
So, How Do We Help Wildlife
We can all make a huge difference to the wildlife around us by making some small changes.
Collectively, our gardens offer a larger wild area than all nature reserves in the uk put together! So if we can all make small changes we can have a huge impact!
Basically nature needs,
But don’t panick! you don’t need to provide them all!
Our gardens can work together to benefit the wildlife in your area,
For example, if you provide a bird feeder to feed the birds and next door puts up some nest boxes, then the lady over the road puts in a small pond and her neighbour has a few hedges then the natural wildlife corridor slowly builds up.
How Do You Create A Wildlife Garden Habitat
Providing hedges and trees can have a huge impact, they give birds and bugs a wide range of benefits including, early nectar sources via blossom, shelter from predators, and berries to help them fatten for Winter.
Some fantastic suggestion for small gardens could be
• Holly. Berries and shelter
• Honeysuckle. Nectar, amazing smell and attractive to bugs, bees and moths
• Ivy. This is thee most beneficial plant to have as it gives an early sourse of nectar when theirs nothing else.
• Hawthorn. This is my favourite and one of the most common hedgerow shrub in the UK. …
• Brambles. Jaggy branches offer a safe place beneath its leaves and delicious berries.
• Butterfly bush. A wonderful source of nectar butterflies and bees love.
• Pyracantha, usually an evergreen bush that provides berries late into the Winter.
Sow Wild Flower Seeds In Your Wildlife Garden
Another fantastic way to help your wildlife, is to sow a patch of wild flower seeds. These provide nectar and habitats for all sorts of bugs, butterflies, birds and more.
To sow your seeds,
• Find an open sunny position.
• Dig over the area
• Get rid of perennial weeds.
• Rake over
• Sprinkle seeds over the soil
Then just water well.
Try blue Cornflowers for bees and butterflies, yellow Limnathes (Poached Egg Plant) attract hover flies to eat aphids, red Poppies are full of nectar, and purple Honestly attracts moths which in turn attract bats.
You could even use a pre-made wild flower mix and just see what appears
Some of our favorite garden plants that attract bees and butterflies include,
You can simply leave a patch of grass long and see what comes. Plants like daisies and dandelions and buttercups are fab for wildlife too.
Why Bother With A Wildlife Garden?
Attracting wildlife to your garden is a good idea for several reasons: Attracting pollinating insects helps to ensure that your fruit and vegetable crops are successful.
Having a wide variety of wildlife in your garden, makes it easier to control unwanted pests and diseases without resorting to chemicals, by ensuring a balance of natural predators.
Why Not Make A Meadow Pot In Your Garden?
Use an upturned dustbin lid or a shallow pot and sow some seeds in it and place in a warm area.
Another good idea for a wildlife garden is making a green roof using sedums. You can actually buy this preprepared in sheets.
Use it in your wildlife garden by covering bird houses, sheds, bug hotels or whatever surface you like with it and watch the wildlife come.
We even covered our rabbit hutch roof with it.
How Can I Turn My Garden Into A Wildlife Garden?
It’s as simple as adding a variety of habitats to attract a variety of wildlife. Adding different habitats like,
- Provide some small trees and hedges to provide sheltered nesting and protection.
- Plant flowers like Holly, sunflowers, honeysuckles, crab apples,
- A pile of broken stone slabs will attract beetles.
- A pile of drilled logs
- Grow a variety of herbs
- Make a Bug hotel
- Put up a variety of nest boxes. Different sizes and shapes attract different birds, for example, Robins like to be above eye level with an open area, but bluetits like to be high with very small hole to enter the box.
- Put up a bat box
- Toad abodes give toads a home from home.
- Put out a dish of marbles with some water below for a bee bath/ water hole
- Make a butterfly feeder by putting out your over ripe bananas and fruit. We hang it in our buddliah tree.
- Make a bucket pond. See below.
- Add a small log pile in a shady corner
- Leave a messy corner, with long grass, logs and dead leaves.
- Plant Ivy
- Plant pollen rich plants with open flowers
- Make seed bombs. Check out this post for the full instructions.
- Make a mini water pond.
What are the best plants to grow in a small garden pond?
I suggest you choose plants that would normally grow in your part of the world, but it’s important to have three different types.
- Vertical plants -Vertical leaves and shoots grow straight up from the surface of the water giving a landing pad and plenty of shelter for wildlife
- Spreading plants – These tend to be marginal plants which means it should be placed along the edges of your pond providing cover for wildlife.
- Oxygenating plants are essential to keep the water healthy and oxygen rich so the wikdlife can survive.They can be planted deeper in the water and are usually totally submerged.
How to make your pond in a pot
You will need:
- 1 pot with no holes.
- Enough washed gravel to cover the bottom of the bowl to 2 – 3 inches deep.
- Upturned clay pots help to give different levels of plant heights and depth.
- Add 2 or 3 suitable aquatic plants. (See above)
- Fill with enough rainwater to fill the bowl.
- Use old bricks or logs to surround the bowl and make it easier for wildlife to get in and out.
So there you are, loads of ideas to inspire you to make your family garden a little more wildlife friendly and be rewarded with lots of pleasure.