It is a common misconception that private gardens do not have wildlife. They do, we just don’t necessarily see it. While we agree that gardens are another room of the house and we like ours to look pretty, we need to be aware that in this day and age of building sites and pollution, we all need to think about what we can do to aid this planet we are so lucky to live on.
If you sit in your garden for a little while, you will soon start hearing birds and flying insects, and you will most definitely have ants, worms and some species of beetles – and yes, slugs and snails too (the bane of any gardener’s life). What we need to do now is have plants and structures in place to attract other forms of wildlife and build an ecosystem of sorts. It doesn’t matter if your garden is small, rented, paved over or you don’t even have a garden. There is always a way! Here are some ideas to get inspired, we certainly are!
Build a pond
Now, it does not need to be a fully-fledged pond with a fountain and fish. What you want to attract are frogs. Frogs will eat your slugs. Therefore frogs are our friends! It can be as big as a bucket, as long as it has stones inside and out so the little critters can get in and out as they please and you have some adequate plants such as an oxygenating one.
Image sourced from the RSPB
Collect bee and butterfly-friendly flowers and plants
You can read our other articles on butterflies and bees as a starting point. Remember that is it thanks to pollinators that we have flowers and vegetables!
Provide food for birds. Now, we don’t just mean leave bird food out. This is good, but once you start putting food out for them they will learn to expect food from you. What we mean is to have hedges and shrubs where they can hide and eat the fruit these produce.
Consider swapping fences for hedges
These allow hedgehogs to travel and they provide food and shelter for birds. You can use rowan, elder, blackthorn or hawthorn, for example. You might also want to consider planting a tree for shelter and nesting.
You don’t need to provide fancy bug hotels. They look amazing, and if you’re crafty, absolutely go ahead! But simply leaving a pile of leaves or sticks, or even hollow bricks, lying around will be enough for insects and hedgehogs to feel cosy. You can also drill holes in dead wood for the beetles and other insects who will want to hibernate.
Similarly, you can bunch some bamboo canes together and hang them somewhere sheltered so solitary bees or ladybirds can make themselves feel at home.
Leave a patch of your garden untidy
Let grass grow, don’t sweep up the leaves; let nature run its course. The amount of wildlife that benefit from these things is much greater than ones need for a spotless garden. You could even just let some seed grasses and wild flowers grow in a big pot or container.
You can find ponds, gardening equipment and plants on the Preloved website.