A Veritable Almanac!
Encouraging Wildlife In Your Garden
You don’t need a massive garden with a thousand acres to make your garden attractive to wildlife. Even a small garden can be a haven to those hungry birds and animals. With a little thought and effort a garden can provide food and shelter to a whole host of living things.
My main interest is to encourage birds so I tend to bias my thoughts towards that end, but the principle is the same for a whole host of creatures. If you like birds then put up a few nest boxes. If you like hedgehogs and their habitat is steadily declining, make them a custom hedgehog dwelling.
Hedgehogs eat lots of garden pests like slugs and snails etc., so it’s a good idea to encourage them, and then you won’t need to use those dodgy slug pellets which might just poison the very things you are trying to attract.I made a hedgehog dwelling by mistake once many years ago. I had a compost heap of rotting leaves and grass; I had put a large piece of carpet over the top to keep the rain out and low and behold a hedgehog family took residence.
A word of warning! When I came to turn the compost heap over I was very lucky I didn’t pierce one of the hedgehogs with my garden fork, so a custom made hedgehog residence seems the safer alternative.
Toads are great creatures to help with keeping the slug population down they are a gardener’s friend and should be encouraged by having a toad house or a place for them to hide out such as a small slab resting on some stones to create a space underneath. Ponds in the garden will ensure you have a wide range of insects to attract frogs, toads and newts. Birds will be able to get a free drink too!
Trees – the best native tree for UK wildlife is the oak tree, in general it is far too big to grow in most gardens. Well over 300 different types of insects, spiders, caterpillars and moths live on the oak tree. If you are Lord Melbourne and have several acres to grow the oak tree in, then that’s the tree for you. The next best tree to consider is the Hawthorn a medium sized tree that’s home to a wide variety of insects caterpillars and moths. The silver birch is a good third on the list of best trees to plant in your garden, it looks good too!
Consider fruit trees as well apple, cherry, pears, plums, but be careful with cherry trees because they have very large vigorous roots and can damage foundations of buildings if placed too close.
Shrubs - If first level of your garden is the tree selection then the next level is the shrubs and choosing the right shrubs can help to attract insects which in turn attract birds that feed on them too. Some shrubs to consider:-
1.Buddleia – or the butterfly bush
2.Pyracantha – great all year round interest
3.Honeysuckle – or Woodbine
10. Dog Rose
There are many others of course, some that would be considered a nuisance in the garden and you might have them already whether you want them or not such as brambles and nettles!