Gardens

It’s amazing what you can do in your own garden, and there are lots of places that give you advice on how to create a haven for biodiversity, or ‘wildlife gardening’. If you’re involved with your local school or community centre, it’s really easy to take some of these tips and use them in the grounds there too.

Contrary to popular belief, gardening for wildlife doesn’t take a lot more time or effort that ‘normal’ gardening, but you do have to be prepared to sacrifice some of the tidiness that modern gardens have, and be a little more careful about the plants and compost you buy at the Garden Centre. After a while, it gets easier as you begin to recognise plants and species that are better for wildlife.

Try to create as many different habitats as you can in your garden, such as wooded areas, grasslands/wildflowers, a pond, some bare ground and gravel. If you don't have much space, concentrate on one or two habitats and making them as good as you can. If you only have a few pots, you can still garden for wildlife by picking flowers and plants that attract a range of species.

Picking native plants usually means that they are in flower or leaf at the time our wildlife needs it, so you will be providing better homes for biodiversity by sticking to native species. Also, try to avoid plants that have "double" flowers, like the ones grown for shows and displays. These have usually lost a lot, if not all, their pollen stores to make room for the extra petals, so are of very little use to butterflies, bees and hoverflies.

You can also try making homes for wildlife, such as putting up bird and bat boxes, making hibernation homes for insects and repitlies/amphiibans, and leaving rought grasslands and scrubby areas for wildlife to seek refuges in.

There is lots of advice on several websites:

RSPB Giving Nature a Home

Garden for Life Forum

The Wildlife Trusts

Wild About Gardens

The Wildlife Gardener