Our Wildlife Gardeners


Thistle heads

Leave perennial stalks to create insect hotels and winter seed food source.

It may seem like winter is going on and on and on but even as our native birds struggle to survive it is via our gardens that many stand their best chance of making it through to spring and summer.

Fortunately there is a growing community of wild life aware gardeners across the country and it’s due to them that our garden birds have access to feeding stations and clean fresh water which is essential to their survival.

Rake leaf fall onto your garden edges to create insect friendly winter habitat

Rake leaf fall onto your garden edges to create insect friendly winter habitat

In addition more gardeners are resisting the temptation to cut back and tidy up in Autumn, leaving this job until late Spring.

What difference does this make? Well your messy garden debris, dead plants and leaf fall, help create a fantastic habitat for insects, winter moths, larvae and invertebrate. These in turn are able to complete their life cycle and contribute to the essential food cycle that our birds and pollinators rely on. In addition old seed heads can offer a much needed food source in the depths of winter and for the gardener a lovely surprise when a plant self seeds somewhere unexpected.

Brimstone (Photo: David Dennis Butterfly Conservation)

Brimstone (Photo: David Dennis Butterfly Conservation)

So if you want a healthy vibrant garden in Spring and Summer you need to leave it alone in Autumn and Winter, apart from anything else it’s good for the plants – plants that are cut back in late Spring suffer less stress and are less likely to be prone to frost damage.

Common frog in damp undergrowth (Photo Meadow Project)

Common frog in damp undergrowth (Photo Meadow Project)

Of course chemical free gardening is essential unless you want a sterile 1950s garden then that’s a different thing. But if you want life and noise and activity brought to you by a cast of creatures great and small then avoid all chemicals at all costs.

For more information on what you can do to help our wildlife in your garden. Take a quick peek at my wildlife garden blog on easy habitat creation.

I decided to put a shout out via Twitter for your Top Tips for wild life sensitive gardening and my lovely followers suggested the following essential tips:

Bird Nourishment Top Tip

@Long_Tailed_Tit  tweeted “White Sunflower hearts are loved by every bird” and  J V Adams @WildlifeStuff agreed.

Meadow Project Tip: add fat balls and daily fresh water is essential in cold winter months especially when below zero. But please remember to clean water and bird feeders to stop the spread of disease.

Habitat Top Tips 

Marbled White (male) on Purple Clover Photo: David Dennis Butterfly Conservation

Marbled White (male) on Purple Clover
Photo: David Dennis Butterfly Conservation

Marco @vBelz  tweeted “Gardeners can make a big difference in preserving and creating wildlife habitat through use of native wildflowers, shrubs and trees

Ginny @ginbat recommends “No pesticides, herbicides, slug pellets. Leave leaf litter, logs, stone piles, soft mortar, shallow pond, nettles, compost

Take a quick peek at the Meadow Project wildlife garden blog on easy habitat creation.

And really importantly, Ginny tweeted “softer boundaries always underestimated. Harsh concrete and post fences a nightmare for wildlife corridors

Meadow Project agrees that native hedgerow is so much better and will be alive with birds, moths and butterflies. Why not plant edible berry varieties for your kitchen.

Jo Cartmell @WaterVole tweeted “Once sown or planted with wildflowers, ex-lawns only need cutting once or twice a year. I have one!

And of course don’t forget “make sure native wildflower seed or plants are sourced locally and have local provenance.” added Jo Cartmell.

Bee collecting nectar on Geranium (Photo Meadow Project)

Bee collecting nectar on Geranium (Photo Meadow Project)

Liz Rollings @Chyenbas reminds us “Don’t be too tidy. Leave space for wild flowers, grow pollen rich plants for bees

Kate @landguardranger agrees she tweeted “my top tip would be not to tidy up too much. Messy corners are good as is dead stuff

Well what a list! Thanks to everyone that sent me a tweet and for those of you reading this be inspired and enjoy the fantastic benefits of gardening with your local wildlife in mind.

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