7 Ways to make your garden wildlife friendly 24 May 2021
Since the start of the pandemic, many people have taken the opportunity to get acquainted with and learn more about the wildlife they can find in their own back gardens. With that in mind, we thought we’d put together 7 top tips for encouraging wildlife into your garden – there’s something for everyone, even if you don’t have a big garden.
Add a hedgehog hole
Hedgehogs are sadly in massive decline across the UK, which is awful for lots of reasons, including they’re just a joy to watch.
One of the biggest problems for our native spiny critters, is that they can no longer easily move from garden-to-garden. If you’re able to add a small hole to the bottom of fencing to create a path through your garden into another, that will really help them.
Other ways you can help hedgehogs include: making sure any ponds have sloping sides so they can easily get out if they take a dip, removing gardening netting like fruit netting when you’re not using it so they don’t get tangled, provide them with a little sheltered spot to hibernate in, or leave them cat food (not fish) and water to encourage return visits to your garden.
Leave a shallow dish of water for pollinators
Lots is written about providing pollen for our buzzy friends, but did you know they need water, too? The problem is they need to be able to land and drink without drowning. To provide a safe watering hole, you can simply put some gravel in a shallow tray, and add water up to the top of the gravel. This allows them to have a nice drink, and then be on their merry way doing the very important job of pollinating your garden.
Plant some butterfly-friendly plants
Three quarters of butterfly species are in UK decline, so they need all the help they can get from gardeners.
Butterflies aren’t fussy when it comes to pollen, most species will eat almost anything. However, their caterpillars are normally fussy when it comes to what they’ll eat before cocooning themselves.
Stinging nettles are a really important part of the ecosystem, and if you have a bit of a corner you don’t mind leaving wild, they’re worth leaving to grow as a host plant for caterpillars. If you don’t want them spreading across your garden, you can grow them in pots – and if you’re worried about the stings, you can even get a sting-free variety. Nettles are a great source of food for red admirals, painted lady, comma butterflies, and small tortoiseshells.
Reduce unnatural lighting
Bats are another amazing animal that can often be seen across the UK at dusk, ducking and weaving to catch insects in mid-air, but did you know that artificial lighting can cause them to lose their sense of direction and crash?
Lighting might look really lovely of an evening when you’re sat in the garden, but remember to turn them off before you go to bed to keep the local bat population happy and safe.
Add a small garden pond
Adding a pond to your garden is a great way to attract amphibious wildlife to your garden – it’s great fun watching tadpoles grow into frogs, and if you’re a keen gardener, frogs and toads will prey on slugs and snails, it’s the dream!
It doesn’t have to be very big, but make sure the slides are sloping so wildlife can get in and out easily, and use oxygenating plants which are native to the UK to attract native UK species.
Vary lawn lengths
We’re right at the end of ‘No Mow May’ but don’t panic, we’re not going to suggest you turn your entire garden into a wildflower meadow (unless you really want to!) Varying the length of your grass is actually really good for wildlife. Short grass allows birds like blackbirds to find themselves and their babies food, while long grass can act as protection for many other species.
If you can, why not leave a small patch that you don’t mow so you can watch it and see what happens? It’s great for kids and adults alike to see what you can spot in your mini garden jungle!
Create a minibeast hotel
To do this, you don’t need to make an actual hotel, although there are some really lovely examples that people have made for minibeasts to hibernate in. You can simply leave a ‘woodpile’ of a few logs with bark on in a secluded corner, and it will become home to all sorts. They’ll then in turn become food for the birds, and you’ll have a thriving garden ecosystem in no time.
Do you have any ideas for encouraging wildlife? Hop on over to our Facebook page and let us know, we’d love to hear some more tips!
Do you have any ideas for encouraging wildlife?
Hop on over to our Facebook page and let us know, we’d love to hear some more tips!