Why wildlife gardening is important
Wildlife gardening is making a bit of come back, despite many of us paving over our drives and adopting time saving strategies to manage the garden.
However environmental concerns mean that wildlife gardening is gaining popularity. It is also vital for our environment. What we plant and how we look after our gardens and countryside, has a direct consequence on the air we breathe and the food we eat.
And actually wildlife gardening is simple. It is very much about allowing your garden to have areas where it can go a little wild and allow nature to take its course.
The advantage of allowing nature to take its course, is that it actually means you can spend less time gardening – as you don’t need to stress every time a buttercup or daisy appears in the lawn.
There are lots of simple things you can do even if you have a small garden to adopt the practice of doing a bit of wildlife gardening.
Wildlife gardening tips for May
- Put out nesting boxes for migrant birds arriving in the UK
- Top up bird feeders. Feed birds on bird tables and on the ground.
- Avoid putting large pieces of food out particularly in spring as this may choke young fledglings
- Keep bird bath topped up with fresh water
- Make a log, twig or rock pile to create a shelter for wildlife
- Put up a bat nesting box
- Plant annuals and perennials that attract bees and butterflies
- Create a pond or a bog garden – a shallow wet area of the garden
Other things you can do
Leave informal hedges un-trimmed till later in the summer to provide food and shelter for wildlife.
Most edible plants can benefit from being grown with companion plants which can attract insects, will help them accumulate extra nutrients or deter deter pests. For examples planting Marigolds or sage around vegetables.
Plant lots of wildlife friendly plants. These either be planted amongst your crops or nearby to attract natural helpers.
Here are some more wildlife gardening tips from Buglife
- Weeds are only plants growing in the wrong place -many bugs rely on common ‘weed’ species. If it’s not in the way, let it grow.
- Leave your lawn a little longer before mowing, and leave grass to grow completely in corners and margins. Different invertebrates like different grass heights
- Let flowers grow in your lawn e.g. White clover and Buttercups are great for pollinators
- Let climbers such as ivy grow along your walls and fences to create extra shelter and food for invertebrates. The sight of Holly blue butterflies and ivy bees is worth it
- Let dead leaves lie as food for worms and other decomposers which are good for the soil
- Leave some undisturbed wild areas in your garden where wildlife can live in peace
For more advice on wildlife gardening the following websites are crammed with information and include many things which will encourage children to start taking an interest in wildlife gardening too.
For advice on other May gardening jobs RHS website here
Froglife and wildlife spotting All about how you can encourage frogs and toads into your garden.
Bug life – everything you need to know about bugs and how they contribute to the environment.
RSPB – how you can help the birds in your garden with a bit of wildlife gardening.
Bumblebee Conservation gardening to help bees.