Just One Thing – Gardens For Wildlife

Wildlife garden sign in front of wildlife garden

Just One Thing

Following on from our Gardens for Wildlife talk, what should we make, leave or change when gardening for wildlife? Sometimes when you want to make changes in your garden to help wildlife it can all seem very overwhelming. Where to start? So much to do! Just one thing can make a huge difference to wildlife, so here’s a handy guide to how you can start. Pick just one to start helping wildlife in your garden!

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  • Add water, make a pond or birdbath
  • Make a compost pile – natural recycling will increase earthworms and mini beasts
  • Think small-scale: create warm, sheltered, sunny micro-habitats and wavy edges
  • Create corridors for wildlife to link areas
  • Install homes for birds, bats, hedgehogs, make insect hotels
  • Night-scented flowers attract moths
  • Edge habitats are more diverse, think woodland glade, pond margin, bog garden
  • Have something in flower every month
  • Add Spring bulbs for early nectar
  • Grow climbers for better use of space, shelter, nest sites, food
A pond can be as simple (e.g. a small container) or as elaborate as you like! Provide a ramp so small animals like hedgehogs can get back out if they fall in though.
  • Dead wood, leaf litter, and mulch provide homes for mini beasts
  • No-dig means better soil structure, more earthworms, invertebrates and beetle larvae
  • Let the grass grow- encourage wildflowers, cut paths, leave longer grass for butterfly larvae
  • Have no-go zones as wildlife refuges
  • Leave gaps in your fence/hedge for hedgehogs
  • Leave a sunny patch of bare ground for ground- nesting bees
  • Look after mature trees and shrubs, habitats develop over time
  • Don’t be too tidy
  • Leave leaves to make leaf litter, leaf mould
  • Work with natural seasonal cycles, make room for nature all year
Don't be too tidy! Compost heaps, wood and leaf piles provide homes and shelter for many animals.
  • Rethink your weeds – many provide nectar and pollen for insects
  • No harmful chemical pesticides or herbicides
  • Encourage predators like ladybirds and lacewings by tolerating aphids
  • Find a space for top three insect plants: ivy, bramble, nettle
  • Reduce light pollution to encourage bats and help moths
  • Feed the birds
  • Think in four dimensions – meet the needs of creatures throughout the year: shelter, food, breeding, hibernation
  • Spend time observing wildlife. Keep a record
  • Use homemade compost to build soil life
  • Have a comfrey patch – natural mulch, liquid fertiliser, bee magnet
Bee feeding on dandelion
Weeds or food for bees? If you can't face a lawn full of flowers, consider leaving a patch wilder for them instead.

By Carol Stone

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