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How to create a garden to attract wildlife
No matter where we live, we are all surrounded by wildlife but sadly it is declining by an alarming rate as our lifestyles impact on the delicate balance of nature. If you’d like to help wildlife and encourage more into your garden, here are a few top tips on what you can do to do your bit for the wildlife here in the UK.
Have a bird feeder
There’s nothing better than pulling back your shutters first thing in the morning and being greeted with the site of beautiful birds flying around. Not only are birds an important part of the garden ecosystem, there’s something incredibly relaxing about hearing their calls and it can also be great fun trying to identify the different species.
If you’re trying to attract birds to your garden, a bird box or feeders are a must. If you have a cat, place feeders high up and near a dense bush to provide them with cover. In spring, birds like to feast on protein-rich feed such as fat balls and in winter, seeds are best.
Don’t cut the grass
It may sound like an excuse to get out of the chores but leaving your grass to grow is a great way to attract all sorts of creatures including butterflies, moths, grasshoppers and even birds and hedgehogs.
Chances are that you don’t want an untidy, over-grown garden however so just leave some blocks of grass unmown until the autumn. You can find out how to do this while keeping your garden looking great by following this link: https://community.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/homesforwildlife/b/gardeningforwildlife/posts/long-grass-that-looks-great
Create wildlife hotels
There are so many ways you can create shelters which will attract all sorts of wildlife into your garden.
• Insects such as beetles and spiders are attracted to piles of rocks, twigs and rotting wood
• Making and using your own compost will not only naturally enrich your soil, it will also provide a habitat for worms, woodlice, frogs, slow worms and more. Ensure you only use raw food to create compost unless you want to attract rats to your garden as well
• The spaces between old roofing tiles and naturally occurring holes in bricks and soft mortar are used as nesting sites by red mason bees. You can attract other bees and wasps by drilling holes into a timber post which gets a lot of sun for them to lay their eggs
• Log piles encourage biodiversity because they provide the ideal habitat for small mammals, amphibians and insects. Please remember to check log piles thoroughly before lighting a bonfire however
• Fallen leaves left in a damp shady corner will attract frogs, toads, newts and slug-eating centipedes
• Dead wood left on trees could become a home for bats, birds or invertebrates
Build a pond
Ponds make a fantastic feature in any garden and they’re possibly the single most useful element for wildlife. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be big – you could even simply bury a bucket or a trough.
Here are some top tips for creating a wildlife pond:
• If you have a big pond, ensure there are stones or branches to help wildlife get in and out
• Shallow edges will allow easy access for frogs and newts
• Ponds are best filled with unchlorinated rainwater from a water butt
• Waterlilies stop ponds from becoming stagnant
• Avoid positioning your pond in full sun or full shade
• Keep your pond clean. Barley straw pond cleaners control algae without exposing your pond to harmful chemicals
• Or alternatively visit the RHS website: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=622