SWANSEA LIFE ARTICLE // WILDLIFE GARDENING

Fancy encouraging more wildlife into your garden? Check out my article in October’s Swansea Life for some wildlife friendly tips!

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Wildlife gardening

According to the Wildlife Trust, there are approximately 16 million gardens in the UK making up a huge living landscape!  Even if your garden is tiny there are many ways to attract a wide variety of wildlife such as bats, birds, bees and even hedgehogs.

One of the best things you can do for wildlife is to introduce water into your garden, even if it is just a tiny pond in a pot or bubbling water feature. A pond will provide important drinking water for birds and other wildlife and will provide habitats for frogs, toads and newts. If creating a wildlife pond, make sure that it has gently sloping edges to allow easy access. If you don’t have the space for a pond then a bird bath is a great alternative.

Planting lots of brightly coloured flowers is a brilliant way to attract bees, butterflies and other important pollinators. Fill your garden with plants that flower from early spring to late autumn- the brighter the better. Avoid plants with double or multi-petalled flowers as they lack nectar, and insects have difficulty in gaining access. Avoid using pesticides on your plants as they will kill all insects, not just the unwanted ones.

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If you have the space, planting trees is a great way to encourage birds, as they provide shelter and feeding opportunities.  For a small garden try a multi-stemmed specimen, or maybe a small fruit tree- the bees will enjoy the nectar from the blossom, you can enjoy the fruit, and the birds will happily munch on any windfalls. Try hanging a few bird feeders in the branches to make your trees even more appealing and position them out of the reach of cats. Make sure you keep them topped up all year round as the birds will come to rely on you.

Climbers provide shelter and space for birds to nest, the flowers are rich in nectar, and they look gorgeous too! White single flowered rambling roses are my absolute favourite (birds love eating the hips in autumn), or try planting a honeysuckle or clematis. Ivy flowers are a very important late source of nectar for bees, and the berries are a great winter food source for a huge variety of birds.

You can buy or build purpose made homes for a huge range of creatures in your garden- from bird boxes to bug hotels, bat boxes to hedgehog hidey-holes. Try creating a log pile in a shady corner for minibeasts.

Take care when carrying out any work on your garden, there may be a frog or a snoozing hedgehog in the long grass you are about to cut, so have a bit of a poke around to allow any creatures to run away before you fire up the lawn mower.

Leaving a small gap under your fence will create a wildlife corridor, allowing hedgehogs, frogs and even newts to wander from garden to garden.


Victoria writes an article each month in Swansea Life magazine about all things gardening. Click here to view her other articles.