A wildlife garden in your garden recreates nature in your garden. Its purpose is to create an environment that encourages wildlife to come in to i.e., have a tendency to tidy up all our farmland gardens compared to 30 years ago when intensive farming and hedgerow machinery were not in vogue. Nowadays everything is cut and tidied, you only have to look at the hedgerows at the side of the road to see how they are ripped and cut, so there is a need to understand the provision of wild areas within our parks and gardens and hedgerows
A bee resting zone
i have found when you bring in a variety of native plants and shrubs you create shelter food and nature will start to move in. i created a pond in my own garden, I have a family of wild coots, frogs etc. and from time to time the kingfisher and ducks arrive in. when I started my garden I never envisaged that wildlife would find its way in to the garden
I created a pond habitat with native trees and shrubs are planted with different styles of leaf shape and seed bearing food for the surrounding wildlife. The pond is naturally feed from the roof of the house and all pond vegetation is native. Having a pond does not mean that there is no maintenance, in fact to preserve the balance you must maintain all weed growth and shrub growth around your pond In subsequent years a family of coots have moved in permanently and are breeding and, from time to time a kingfisher uses the deck to feed on water bugs. When we create a natural eco system, nature will take over and restore the balance.
I have realised by creating a small ecosystem that we need to create more wildlife focused planting around our homes, and maybe less flower shrub based gardens. The bees can benefit from the flowers and these can be kept near to the house for colour around the house.
I can see in the future each garden having a small corner with an emphasis on protecting bees birds insects etc.
Create a wildlife garden
Try to create a woodland glade effect in a sunny area, surrounded by shrubs and trees. Create a corridor for wildlife by having a native hedgerow or native shrubs merging with the hedge or meadow,
You can vary your planting according to the size of garden you have. I also think that it’s a good idea to let one area wild if you have the space in a larger country garden, otherwise in a suburban garden you will be encouraging the wildlife in.
How to start a small forest garden
Find a corner in your garden and start a bug hotel by placing some logs down to rot this is your first layer to encourage bugs in. the second layer can be planting wildflower seeds and plants in this can be cowslips bluebells etc this layer in its wild form usually blooms early in the year before dense coverage forms, the last layer is trees mountain ash birch alders
Designing your space is important in terms of how you want to help nature, how you structure this will draw in nature, and nature always knows how to bring in the balance if given a chance to recover.
Create a native hedgerow
To create a native hedgerow you can use hawthorn holly, hazel, blackthorn, elderberry, honeysuckle, wild roses, wild crab, silver birch bramble, butterfly bush, and mountain ash. This will bring in a variety of wildlife in when matured.
A bee habitat
I usually try to place some flowers in for the bees close to the house, echinops, buddleia , lavender and many others will give bees a chance.
Other plants that I like to use are geraniums, roses, foxgloves and I usually plant in blocks for effect. Dandelions even though we think they are a nuisance are valuable.
The bees will also be happy if you can reduce down the amount of pesticides and weed killer you use. Please try to illuminate them form your garden where possible
A Bird Sanctuary
The mini-wood and hedgerow will attract many species of bird. These areas can be supplemented with plenty of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that have an abundance of seeds and berries.
Plants that can provide food include, ivy, dog rose, rowan sweet briar, honeysuckle, bramble, bird cherry, guilder rose, holly, hawthorn, teasel, common knapweed, meadowsweet, lesser burdock and common bird’s foot trefoil.
Plants from the garden centre