Top Tips for Wildlife Gardening
1. Choose berry, fruit, nut & seed plants
Berries, nuts, fruit & seeds provide important autumn & winter foods for birds & small mammals. They look great in the garden too.
Berries: hawthorn, holly, rowan
Fruit: apples, cherry, blackthorn
Nuts: hazel, beech
Seeds: artichokes, sunflowers, teasels
2. Nectar all year
Plant native nectar-rich plants to provide food for butterflies, moths, bees, bumble bees & hoverflies. Have something in flower through the year.
Spring: snowdrop, bluebell, cowslip,
Summer: vetches, lady’s bedstraw, red clover, knapweeds, scabious’s
Rockeries & banks: herb-robert, horseshoe vetch, ivy-leaved toadflax, red valerian,toadflax,wild strawberry.
3. Don’t be too tidy
Leave some areas of the lawn and garden to grow “wild” – good for amphibians & over-wintering insects.
4. Feed the birds
Different bird feeds & feeders suit different species. Clean regularly to prevent disease & follow BTO or RSPB guidelines.
5. Build a log or stone pile
Leaving log piles in undisturbed shady spots or laying flat stones around the garden helps pest predators such as centipedes, ground beetles, frogs & even hedgehogs.
6. Water features
Even the smallest water feature can benefit wildlife. Carefully positioned away from ambushing cats in a sunny position, with gently sloping edges, a water feature can provide a safe place to drink, bathe and even breed. Don’t add any ornamental fish as they will eat all the wildlife!
7. Peat free compost
Using home-made compost instead of peat saves important peat bog habitats, home to many of Britain’s rarest and most spectacular wildlife.
8. Hedges & walls
Hedgerows are important highways, shelter belts & sources of food for animals throughout the year Bees prefer to nest in south facing old walls so take care when re-pointing..
9. Nest boxes
Make or buy nesting boxes for birds, bats, insects, hedgehogs & even toads – all will eat your garden pests. But keep them safe from cat & dogs.
- Put bird boxes on east-facing, sheltered spot
- Place bat boxes in groups of 3, facing different directions, high up on large trees
- Sheltered, warm spots are good for insect boxes
- Toads & hedgehogs prefer undisturbed dark, quiet corners.
10. Garden organically
Herbicides, fungicides and insecticides (including slug pellets) kill beneficial species as well as harmful ones. Hand weeding, mulching, weed suppressant fabric and planting good ground cover reduce the need for sprays.