If you’re reading this, you’re probably the kind of person who wants to do your bit to help the environment, the ecosystem and the planet as a whole. But, just in case you’re only beginning to dip a toe into the world of gardening (or you’d simply like a few more facts about what’s going on) you might be interested to learn that hedge hogs, hoverflies, moths and birds are in serious decline.
Just as concerning is the fact that ecologists at the University of Reading have suggested that “under current trends we are moving towards the loss of species and the ecosystem functions that are vital for human wellbeing, especially pollination and pest control”. So, what can you do to reverse the trend and encourage more wildlife into your garden? A good place to start is by employing these top tips…
Dig and maintain a pond
Adding a pond to your garden is the single most helpful thing you could to do attract wildlife to your garden, as you’ll draw in swathes of amphibians, birds, insects and mammals. Keep an eye out for dragonflies, water beetles, newts and toads, and make sure to yank out plants once in a while, scooping out algae that will otherwise threaten to starve the pond of nitrogen. Make it easy for wildlife to enter and exit the pond by making one slide slope up to the surface, and, leave the outer edge of the pond as a grassy area with a little nest of logs to shelter in… otherwise, sun-baked patio stones will cook poor baby amphibians within a minute or two!
Cut a small hole in the fence
Of course, you don’t want to give neighbouring cats an invitation to come and use your garden whenever they like (or foxes or badgers for that matter), but it’s definitely worth cutting a small hole in your fence to allow hedgehogs and frogs to come and go as they please. Cut a hole no larger than a CD case to keep unwanted guests out.
Hang wild bird feeders
Consider hanging wild bird feeders in your garden if you want to attract a variety of species such as goldfinches, sparrows and robins. Not only will you be providing them with a steady source of food (which can easily be protected from hungry squirrels), but they’ll be doing you a favour too; birds eat the pests that would otherwise gobble up your plants, so you wont have to rely on harsh insecticides to protect your flowers and vegetables if you encourage a mutually beneficial relationship like this one.
Allow a corner of the garden to grow wild
Ultimately, don’t worry about creating the ‘perfect’ garden. Most domestic gardens aren’t overly manicured or preened within an inch of their lives, which is fantastic news for wildlife. A slightly more ‘devil may care’ attitude will ensure that your garden brims with life and activity (particularly in patches of long grass and piles of damp leaves left in the shade), just as a nature intende