Some simple ideas to get you started up the rewild garden path!
Wow! Did you know research shows that even a tiny garden can house over 700 different species of insect. From the minuscule organisms living in the soil to the nocturnal visits from hedgehogs, bats and foxes. No space is too small to make a positive impact on local wildlife.
Here are 10 super simple ways to make your garden more wildlife-friendly.
1. Let your garden sleep in for winter.
This is a time when insects, especially butterflies, can be sheltering amongst dried stems, leaf-litter or dead plant material, either pupating, as a caterpillar or an egg. Resist the urge to tidy up your garden until spring. This gives these insects important time to complete lifecycles. When the weather warms up insects will start to emerge; and you can enjoy giving the garden a good spring clean knowing doing nothing over the winter has saved some wildlife!
2. Add a nest box
Our wild birds are in trouble and numbers dwindling. With the trend for tidy gardens and hedges being replaced by fences, many potential nesting sites have been lost. Pop up a nest box on a tree, wall or side of the shed. From 14th February every year, is National Nestbox Week, and a perfect time to put up a new box.
3. Add water
Living things need water, adding water, whether it be a pond, bird bath or insect drinking station, makes a really massive difference for wildlife! A simple insect bee pit-stop can be made by adding marbles or pebbles to a saucer of water. Remember to keep them topped up in the summer.
Pretty native flowers not only look beautiful, they feed bees and butterflies. Plants often have a relationship with a particular insect, especially in the larval stages of a butterfly or moth as a food plant. Growing a butterfly patch, bee plot or simply a pot for pollinators can really help. We have
Seedball mixes that cater specifically towards wildlife and are super simple to use. Simply pop on top of bare soil and keep well watered, they are essentially planted already.
5. Add a tree
Here is the small fig tree at Seedball allotment. You can pick up dwarf varieties of fruit trees, during the winter months, as bare root plants, making them much cheaper. An apple tree in a patio pot with a few crocus bulbs nestled underneath will be provide blossom and nectar in the early spring.
6. Stop using chemicals
Any pests in the garden will have a natural predator. Encourage lacewing and ladybirds with insect hotels and leafy plants; both will devour aphids such as greenfly and blackfly in no time. Not all slugs are after your plants, some eat decaying material and are actually good for the garden. Birds, frogs and toads will eat snails. There is even a type of mason bee that makes its nest in empty snail shells.
7. Ivy is good
Ivy blossoms prolificly in late autumn when not much else is in flower. The Ivy bee and many other insects visit the flowers, which once pollinated turn into plump berries, that birds like to feast on over winter. Ivy leaves contain saponin and can be made into a natural washing liquid. Check Seedball Instagram for a how to reel!
8. Think of nocturnal wildlife too
A bat box can provide a roosting place and plants that emit scent at dusk, such as Evening primrose (and other flowers in our bat mix) will attract insects like moths, for bats to feed on. Adding a hedgehog highway and putting out food over night will help hedgehogs.
9. Make it your own
Be creative with your use of space. Grow herbs in old teapots or a wildflowers in a wellie boot! Recycle old tins for insect hotels or add a pallet planter to a wall.
10. No garden?
Do you have a ledge you can plonk a pot on? Or a window that could take a bird feeder? Perhaps a communal front garden that a planter could be? Or space for a hanging basket or few?! Always ask permission first. Good luck wildflower warriors! x