Hints & Tips
Wildlife gardening can be an excellent way of helping to safeguard our native species. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, private gardens in Britain cover about 270,000 hectares (667,000 acres), meaning they have great potential as a home for wildlife.
Very few of Britain's 22,400 species of insects are garden pests. Many are beneficial as pollinating insects or as predators or parasites of pest species, so you don't need to worry too much about introducing pests into your plot.
Selecting the right plants is key to maximising the potential of your garden as a haven for wildlife, with native and local plants usually providing the best options.
If you're creating a pond, non-invasive oxygenators such as rigid hornwort, spiked water-milfoil and common water-crowfoot make ideal choices.
The margins of the pond should be planted with upright stems or leaves to encourage dragonflies or damselfly nymphs. Yellow flag iris, greater spearwort and sedges are particularly useful additions.
In order to attract wildlife to your lawn, you should consider adding other, flowering plants. It is usually best to raise them as small plants in seed trays and transplant them into the lawn. For short turf, attractive flowers include bird's-foot trefoil, eyebright, violets and wild thyme.
Hedges provide an excellent haven for wildlife, creating cover and nesting sites for birds and small mammals, as well as habitats for spiders and insects.
Hawthorn, field maple, blackthorn, beech, hornbeam and holly are ideal hedge plants, and these can be interspersed with rambling plants such as wild rose, bramble and honeysuckle.
Trees and shrubs also make great habitats for a range of creatures. While many trees are too big for most plots, plants that can be used in most gardens include cherry, crab apple, goat willow, hazel, mountain ash and buddleja.
A number of other features can be added to gardens to make them more wildlife-friendly. These include flower borders, compost heaps, fruit and vegetable areas and dead wood.