How to create a wildlife-friendly garden
With global warming and climate change accelerating at a rapid rate, it has never been more important to look after the world around us. If you are an eco-minded homeowner seeking to do your bit for the environment, consider making your garden space more wildlife-friendly. Not only will this benefit your local wildlife: attracting animals to your garden will help your plants to prosper, and overall lead to a more restful and relaxing outdoor space where you can feel in tune with nature from the comfort of your own home. So, how can we welcome more wildlife to our gardens?
Try to provide adequate shelter and accommodation for wildlife in your garden, whether it be shrubs and trees (for nesting birds and squirrels), a bird box, or even a DIY hedgehog box. While these are sure to go down well with any kids in the household, they will also significantly increase the biodiversity and animal population of your space. If you are worried about larger plants raging out of control, you can keep shrubs and hedge borders tidy using a pruning saw – but try to avoid any pruning during nesting season.
Bees are integral to our ecosystem and their presence is a great indicator of a healthy garden. Fortunately, there are many ways to increase the density of bees in your green space. The National Trust advises growing pollinator-friendly plants in your garden to attract bees – this is an effective natural way of fertilising the plants in the same space. Examples of bee-friendly plants that are relatively easy to grow and maintain in our climate include honeysuckle, catmint, alliums, rosemary, thyme, heather, and lavender. You can even attract bees to your garden by simply allowing the grass to grow, which will better enable weeds and lawn flowers such as daisies and daffodils to flourish. Bees and butterflies tend to prefer colourful, fragrant plants, so making your space more bee-friendly could improve the appearance and scent of your garden overnight.
In order to make your garden more wildlife-friendly, ensure that you are providing sustenance for your new companions. These can take the form of bird baths, bird feeders and water features. Installing a simple pond or water feature is surprisingly easy and can be achieved using nothing more than a buried bucket and water butt. In order to avoid water stagnation, which is off-putting to wildlife, use unchlorinated rainwater and place your water feature in a shaded area. Waterlilies are also effective in preventing stagnation and attracting insects. For complicated water features, it is best to bring in professional help.
In the same way that allowing some extra growth in your lawn will facilitate the emergence of pollinator-friendly weeds and flowers, sectioning off a dedicated area of your garden for untamed wild growth can go a long way in attracting wildlife and boosting biodiversity. If you have the space, consider cultivating an un-fenced mini wildflower meadow in your garden and don’t be afraid to let it grow!