I went along to the inspiring Gardeners’ World Live exhibition a few days ago, and as well as adoring it and coming away with a fair few new plants, I also came away with ideas. I found that the show clarified for me what I wanted from my garden, which now has me excited and thinking about changes and additions that I’d like to make. My biggest take away from it is that for me, I want the garden to be a place that we can all enjoy being in, for it to be colourful, pretty and scented, and for it to be a little haven for wildlife. So today I wanted to share with you 5 tips for encouraging wildlife into your garden, along with showing you some of the gardens that inspired me…
Put in a Home for Wildlife
Whether this be adding a hedgehog house in a quiet spot, a bat house in a high spot, a birdbox or creating a bug hotel, it can be easy and fun to do. We made our own little wildlife area a couple of years ago which continues to thrive, and I can only see this growing going forward.
Be Smart With Space
It really doesn’t matter how large or small your garden is, just get creative with it. You may be able to create a wildflower meadow, a conservation hedge or a sprawling pond and bug hotel. On smaller scales, you can add pots, containers and window boxes, mini ponds or scatter seeds around any beds you have. Bird and bat boxes also take up very little space.
Create a Wet Area
Though a pond can be great, this doesn’t have to be on such a big scale. Ponds and marshes are vital as a drinking source and also to attract toads, frogs and insects, but it could be something as small as a container of water, or perhaps an inverted dustbin lid in the corner of the garden. Try to ensure there’s a sloping side as a route out. I loved this little toad habitat I spotted at the show…
Add Attractive Plants
Whilst certain plants can be specific for attracting certain kinds of wildlife (see links below for more help), the following are beneficial for many different creatures and are common and easy to source, so can be a good starting point:
The benefit here, is that it’s often the highly-scented flowers that draw the bees and insects, so in turn the birds, bats and hedgehogs, and for me that’s important as I love to walk out into my garden and take in all of the different scents as they drift my way. I like it look pretty, but I also need it to smell beautiful.
Avoid Any Chemicals
If you’ve worked hard to attract wildlife to your garden, then of course you’ll want to keep them safe. This means avoiding using chemicals, such as weed killers and slug pellets. I shared a completely chemical-free weedkiller review recently, and these natural garden remedies are also safe. By attracting various forms of wildlife into your garden, you should find that they help to control any pests for you as hedgehogs eat slugs, ladybirds enjoy aphids and so on.
Of course, you may have specific wildlife in mind that you’d like to attract, and each will differ in what they need. For further specialist recommendations, I’d suggest looking at:
For Bats – Bat Conservation Trust
For Bees – The British Beekeepers Association
For Birds – RSPB
For Hedgehogs – Tiggywinkles
For Butterflies – Butterfly Conservation
I love to sit in my garden and see it buzzing with bees, to see butterflies resting on the buddleia, and to have roses, stocks and orange blossom all wafting my way. I like the cottage garden look, and I enjoy thinking about which plants need to go where, what needs moving around and creating colourful and packed borders – often with roses, I have so many roses! I’m now planning a new feature in a little unused area of the garden that’s just crying out for something, I just need to decide on what, and there’s definitely fun to be had in the decision-making as well as the doing. Whatever I end up doing, it will be with wildlife in mind.
What about you? What’s important for you in your garden?