Would you like to make your garden a sanctuary for wildlife? This guide covers some simple changes you can make to transform your garden into a haven for your local wildlife.
If possible, you need to try and use garden plants that provide both food and shelter.
You should also aim to fill your garden with pollinator-friendly plants such as lavender, buddleia, and even dandelions. Wildflowers, echinacea and honeysuckle are also great flowers for bees and butterflies.
Fruit trees are another good option if you’d like to attract mammals and birds.
If you have a lot of unwanted wood lying around, then why not make a log pile out of it? This will help to create a habitat for small insects, mammals and amphibians, who can make a home out of all the cracks and gaps.
A log pile doesn’t need any maintenance, and can be left untouched for several years. You could ask around to see if anyone has any firewood they aren’t using, or use untreated wood from DIY projects you have been working on.
Avoid using pesticides where possible. The main reason for this is because it is harmful to animals and it also interrupts the food chain.
Instead of reaching for the chemicals, you can control weeds by digging them up by hand, use natural slug control methods, and growing plants that act as a natural pest deterrent. A healthy garden ecosystem should do most of the hard work for you.
Start composting with a compost bin. You can use unwanted vegetation here from your garden, including fallen leaves and grass cuttings. If you do this along with household waste such as tea bags, paper and vegetable waste, then this will help you to provide shelter and food for many species.
Just make sure that you avoid putting meat or dairy in your compost bin, as this will encourage vermin and unpleasant smells.
Provide a water source
If you don’t have a small pond or a bird bath, then now is the time for you to create one. It can be really simple; for example a washing-up bowl that’s been sunk into the ground, or a mini pond in a bucket.
If you want to attract birds, bees and other wildlife to your pond, then having ample foliage is key. Bees love allium bulbs, so look into them if you don’t have any in your garden already.
Make a home for birds and bats
If you want to take your wildlife gardening one step further, why not make or buy a nesting box for birds or bats? Make sure that you put it in a sheltered space and out of the reach of cats.
Build a bee hotel
If you can find some bamboo shoots or even some hollow stems, then believe it or not, you can make these into a bee hotel. This provides bees with the ideal environment to thrive. We’ve got a step-by-step guide to making a bee hotel here.
You can encourage climbing plants such as jasmine, clematis or ivy to grow up your garden walls. This will provide somewhere for birds to nest, and can also add privacy to your garden.
The best thing about growing plants such as this is that they help to provide pollen for bees and other beneficial insects. And of course, they can look stunning too.
Follow the above tips, and your garden will be transformed into a wildlife sanctuary that helps to support your local species while also providing you with a huge amount of enjoyment.