Staffordshire Moorlands Council are asking us to encourage wildlife to your garden which can have a big impact on helping British species thrive.
RSPB offer great tips for creating a sustainable and wildlife friendly garden..
A home for nature Making our gardens wildlife friendly doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to leave them to grow into wild jungles. Every space, whether it’s a huge estate or a busy family garden, can give a home to nature. There are lots of simple things we can do to help the animals we share a space with, from making sure that they have access to different habitats, to nurturing well-stocked feeding grounds for them. A wildlife friendly garden is accessible to everyone whatever space we’ve got, whether we’re maintaining an established garden, or creating a new one altogether. Here are some key factors for a great wildlife-friendly garden.
Habitats Even the smallest of gardens can offer up a huge variety of different habitats for wildlife. There are lots of ways we can introduce, or let nature create, a diverse range of homes for nature in our outdoor spaces. It’s good to create as many habitats as possible without cramming too much in. Think about the space you have available and focus on making these microhabitats as good as they can be. You may not even realise that some of the most common unassuming garden features can house thriving worlds of wildlife.
Lawns for example, especially areas of un-cut long grass, are an important habitat for all sorts of insects and minibeasts, not to mention a feasting ground for the hungry birds which feed on them.
Borders, filled with flowering plants and shrubs, give nectar rich food to butterflies and bees, as well as seeds, berries and cover for birds and small mammals.
Trees, and hedges offer roosting and nesting sites for birds and mammals, as well as valuable shelter and cover from the elements and possible predators.
Ponds and water features can be a habitat for a huge variety of animal life, from amphibians and invertebrates to bathing garden birds.
Even woodpiles, compost and trimmings, the decomposing and discarded off-cuts from your garden, can be incredible places for animals to live, feed and hibernate.
Our gardens can be busy worlds of wildlife heaving with nature.
To breed and shelter A basic need for all wildlife is somewhere safe to breed and shelter. A garden can give this in many ways to many things.
Growing climbers against walls can provide brilliant shelter, as well as roosting and breeding sites for birds.
Trees, bushes and hedgerows can also be great havens for the bird world, as well as small mammals like hedgehogs. As a place for cover from predators and a safe spot to build a nest, these can be invaluable.
Providing bird boxes, bat boxes and hedgehog homes can be a great way of introducing good artificial shelters into nature. Natural roosting and nesting sites can be increasingly hard for animals to find and our gardens give us the chance to give them an ongoing safe alternative.
Butterflies need breeding sites too, and growing the right plants can give them a place to breed and lay their eggs. Honesty and hedge garlic can be good for orange tip butterflies and buckthorn bushes are favourites for breeding brimstones.
Dead wood, trimmings and old foliage can be a valuable hiding place for beetles and other insects and minibeasts, as well as fungi and moss.
Leaving areas of grass to grow wild can give all sorts of wildlife a place to hide and breed. If you are looking to cut back overgrown areas, or untidy borders, wait until late winter or early spring, to give any minibeasts sheltering from the cold winter month the chance to move on.