Hints & Tips
The British public are being urged by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to get involved in a series of activities that aim to help slow the decline of a number of species.
Between October 25th and 31st, gardeners and community groups across the UK will be asked to take part in a new initiative called the Wild About Gardens Week, which will see volunteers try and make their backyards more friendly to animals that are currently under threat.
Hedgehogs are one of the main species expected to be helped by the new scheme and this is especially important because the mammals have reduced dramatically in numbers since the millennium, with one survey estimating there are 33 per cent fewer in 2013 than there were in 2000.
Tortoiseshell butterflies will also be aided under the week-long programme, with the wildflower-dependent insect suffering from a 77 per cent drop in sightings in the last 13 years.
Chris Baines, vice president of The Wildlife Trusts (TWT), said: "The nation's gardens are hugely important for wildlife and as a habitat network they are second to none. There are many simple ways in which we can make our gardens naturally richer.
"Nest boxes, bird feeders, log piles, nectar plants, fruiting shrubs, wall climbers and ponds provide valuable habitat and as each of us improves our garden for wildlife, the plants and animals that we attract bring more pleasure in return."
The RHS also announced it would be giving away free wildflower seeds at four of its gardens, with TWT visitor centres also providing the resources free-of-charge.
Helen Bostock, RHS horticultural advisor, said it was alarming that a number of relatively common species, including garden frogs and house sparrows, were being pushed out of backyards across the country.
But Ms Bostock is confident that the Wild About Gardens Week will act as a wake-up call for Britons to get more involved in making their garden friendly for animals.