Turn your garden into a wildlife havenGardening Which? shows you how

01 September 2006

 

Almost any garden has the potential to become a haven for local wildlife within just a few months, says Gardening Which?

A wildlife garden doesn't require a meadow-like amount of space or a major re-design. Even small changes to small gardens, such as a log pile or a little pond, will encourage different species to pay a visit.

Native plants, from bluebells to hawthorn, can be incorporated into any garden and the beauty of a wildlife garden is that it doesn't need a lot of tending.

For those with urban gardens, who don't fancy turning their manicured yard over to wildflowers, even a couple of large pots can be enough to attract wildlife visitors.

A hive of activity

Gardening Which? gives the lowdown on what kinds of wildlife are attracted to different types of garden:

  • Hedgerow - a perfect hideaway for birds; adding ivy, blackthorn and willow will provide food for bees and butterflies in the colder months.
  • Meadow - for those with ample space, sowing a wildflower 'meadow' is easy on the right kind of soil and provides cover for tiny mammals, such as field mice, to avoid predators, plus nectar for bees and butterflies
  • Woodland - it doesn't take a huge garden to make space for a copse of three rowan trees or a hazel coppice.  As well as birds roosting, feeding and nesting, 'woodlands' also provide ideal environments for frogs and newts
  • Pond and bog - a hive of activity, ponds fill up with pond skaters, diving beetles and dragonflies, and are a great location for passing birds and mammals to stop for a drink. Creating a bog can be fun for kids – it's simply an area kept permanently damp, planted with bog plants

Free mini-guide

Gardening Which? Editor Julia Boulton said: 'All gardens are potential wildlife havens. Even with a small garden, log pile or small pond will attract wildlife for you to observe and enjoy. 

'And the beauty of the wildlife  garden is that it doesn't need a lot of tending – it prefers to be left well alone.'

For more information on how to create a wildlife haven, a free mini-guide on wildlife gardening is available by calling 01992 822800 and quoting WILDLF.