Go WILD in your garden
No matter how big or small your garden, a few simple changes can help to encourage a wealth of wildlife to visit.
Visit CCW's Plant for Wildlife Website to help you choose what to plant.
Download Birds in your Garden, produced by Natural England.
TOP TIPS for WILDLIFE GARDENERS
- Grow a mixture of native and ornamental plants in your garden. Include nectar and pollen-rich plants which flower at different times of the day and year - these will provide food sources for bees and other insects. Fruiting trees and shrubs are also an important winter source of food for birds and mammals - try leaving some fruit on the tree or leave some windfalls to attract winter visitors such as redwings and fieldfares. Cutting back perennials in spring rather than autumn provides seed heads as a further food source for birds, as well as providing a valuable shelter for hibernating insects.
- Think carefully about the garden products that you buy. Cut back on chemical use - why not encourage pests' natural enemies (such as birds, lacewings and ladybirds) to your garden. Use mulches to reduce weed growth and select disease resistant varieties of plants. Avoid using products from habitats under threat e.g. peat and peat-based composts (from peat bogs) and hardwood products (from tropical rainforests). See moore information on peat alternatives on the Wildlife Trusts' leafet For Peat's Sake.
- Create a water feature, ideally without fish, and you will encourage amphibians into your garden (which can help you to control slugs and snails). By planting waterside plants you can also provide an important place for dragonflies and damselflies to breed. A water feature will also give birds a place to drink.
- Create additional habitats for wildlife in your garden. Simple measures such as growing climbing plants against bare fences and walls can provide important extra food sources in your garden as well as shelter and places for birds to nest. The greater the range of habitats you can provide in your garden, the more wildlife you will attract.
- Recycle in your garden. Compost plant material and kitchen waste - it provides an excellent soil conditioner for free!. Compost heaps also provide an important habitat for many species, such as slow worms and insects (which in turn provide an important food source for birds such as wrens). Why not install a water-butt to catch rainwater for use in your garden. And re-use materials from your garden - dead wood placed in piles provides a useful habitat for many species, including fungi, insects and reptiles.
There are lots of additional tips available on the following websites - why not take a look:
The Royal Horticultural Society - with links to useful advice sheets.
An A-Z of garden wildlife from the RSPB.
Wild about gardens - a joint Wildlife Trusts and RHS site which includes an interactive assessment of your garden's value for biodiversity & tips on changes you can make.
Wildlife Gardening - the BBC help Britain go wild!. Log on to see lots of useful factsheets or join in and get free email updates on how to manage your garden for wildlife season by season.
Wild in Your Garden - Includes even more information from the BBC on how to attract wildlife to your garden & it has a virtual wildlife garden!!
Space for Nature - wildlife gardening forum - a really comprehensive site with news, features and lots of links.
The Wildlife Trusts Wildlife Gardening page - these webpages are updated every month so give you up-to-the-minute information on what you can do or what to avoid doing to help your garden wildlife.