2 July 2012

Wildlife Gardening Tips

Rebecca Neal is running Froglife's Green Pathways project.  As she tackles her reputation as World's Worst Gardener, she's discovering the things we can all do to help amphibians, reptiles and other wildlife at home...
"Its not that I don’t like gardens or that I underestimate their importance (gardens are one of the few habitats that are actually increasing) I am just a bit rubbish at gardening! However, in my job, there is a need for me to learn more and help young people create wildlife gardens in their local area.  So I have been swotting up to find these top tips:
1.     Stop mowing! Or at least do less of it. You could mow your whole grassy area less often or even better, leave wilder bits around the edges. Areas of longer grass are great for invertebrates and therefore anything that eats them, like newts. 
2.     Provide water. A pond would be brilliant and provides habitat for lots of stuff. If a traditional pond is out of the question, you could use anything in your garden to hold water; an old sink or just a plastic window box. As long as you provide a way for things like newts  to get in and out like a pile of stones. You could collect rain water to top up your pond. Or you could just put out a dish of water for birds to drink or wash in.
Honeysuckle is great for bees
3.     Grow nectar and berries. Native is best. Try to plant a variety so that there is always something in flower. Ivy is good because its late flowering and provides late berries and my absolute favourite plant, honeysuckle, is also favoured  by lots of things.
4.     Create hiding places. This could be anything from a log to a bug hotel, a pile of leaves or a rockery. Planting a native hedge provides all sorts of hidey holes. Try hawthorn or blackthorn which have beautiful early blossom and berries.
5.     Make a compost heap. Retiles love it!"

Rebecca will be sharing more tips as she practices her wildlife gardening.  In the meantime, here are some good places to look for further advice on gardening with wildlife in mind:

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