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Tips on making your garden more wildlife friendly
Author: Bex Messenger, KHWP, Date Published: Mon 8th Feb

Tips on making your garden more wildlife friendly

Choosing the Right Flowers

The more plant-species-rich a garden is, the more biodiverse it will be. This, in turn, will attract a greater variety of insects and wildlife. Choosing native plants that provide food and/or habitat to native species, such as bees and butterflies, is a great way to improve the area’s biodiversity. Plant a range of species of all shapes, colours, sizes and smells. Particularly, choose plants that provide pollen and nectar for as long a season as possible, from spring (e.g. crocus and mahonia) through to autumn (e.g. Michaelmas daisy, Sedum spectabile and ivy).

Keep a Mix of Trees and Shrubs

Growing a range of trees, shrubs or a mixed hedge to provide food via flowers, fruits and seeds, and shelter for cover and nesting sites. Small trees and shrubs that are good for blossom and berries include rowan, crab apple, elder, blackthorn and hawthorn – and not just our native species. Fruit trees support a range of specialist native wildlife and can provide for them while also supplying you with a useful crop. Large and mature trees, such as English oak, are a vital wildlife habitat and support an incredible diversity of plants, fungi, lichens and animals, especially insects. If your garden is too small for big trees, protect those already in community spaces as they provide a vital habitat for a range of wildlife that may visit nearby gardens while foraging.

Add Water

Water is a great magnet for wildlife! Including a pond, birdbath or even just a container of water in your garden can help many creatures thrive, from birds and dragonflies to frogs and newts. When creating a pond – of any size – do not introduce fish that is primarily for wildlife and try to allow water plants to occur naturally. Make sure ponds have at least one sloping side to allow for an easy way out!

Build Insect Homes

Decaying woodpiles provide a rare habitat to a range of specialist wildlife that is becoming more uncommon in the countryside, such as stag and bark beetles, and many species of fungi. It also provides cover and hibernation sites. Piles of rocks can also provide shelter. You can also buy ready-built hotels that are more compact and easier to display if you don’t want to create your own.

Compost!

Composting your garden waste helps all your garden plants and wildlife, as it speeds up the natural recycling of nutrients by harnessing native decomposer organisms, especially fungi and soil bacteria. Compost heaps also shelter many creatures as they enjoy the heat released by decomposition.

Scatter Wildflower Seeds

We have lost 96% of our diverse, species-rich meadows since the 1950s, so re-creating them in the garden or community space can help redress the balance. They are great for insects, are low maintenance, and make a good, more natural alternative to a labour-intensive lawn. Wildflower meadows will attract pollinating bees and butterflies and provide shelter to other animals.

Allow a Patch of Grass to Grow Longer

You don’t have to create a full-scale wildflower meadow to increase biodiversity! Allowing patches of lawn to grow longer provides shelter for small mammals and food for some butterfly caterpillars.

Leave a Gap in Your Fence

Garden fences with gaps at the bottom allow wildlife, such as hedgehogs and frogs, to move from area to area. It also helps to link different habitats together.
Bex Messenger, Partnership Officer, KHWP
 

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