If you’d love to see more wildlife in your garden, clever choices for your borders and herb patches can give nature a helping hand.
And by making space for the mini-beasts you can provide for the whole food chain, without shelling out for specialist supplies.
When you leave part of your garden untouched, with good access to other gardens or wild spaces, you are creating safe area for wildlife away from human influences.
An undisturbed pile of logs makes an excellent hideaway for an incredible number of insects which in turn can attract birds and mammals.
But if you prefer a more orderly garden, you can still provide additional food and shelter for all the small things – and some of the big ones too – with a good mix of plants.
- Trees not only give birds somewhere to nest but can provide fruit for foxes, badgers and even deer
- Hedgerows, such as holly, provide essential cover and corridors that join up green spaces for small mammals
- A range of shrubs that flower at different times will improve the diversity of visitors to your garden
- Longer grass is essential for egg-laying insects such as butterflies, so leave a bit of lawn untrimmed
- Taller flowers will attract flying friends from bees to dragonflies
- Night-scented plants such as buddleia and evening primrose are great for moths which in turn are a feast for bats
- Wall climbers can provide links between gardens for pollinators
- Make a calm haven in coastal gardens with trellis and evergreens to act as a windbreak
- Don’t forget your water feature: ponds are essential for amphibians and offer a bath and beverage for birds
- Choose your own compost over peat – the latter is a threatened habitat while compost heaps are a warm home to reptiles as well as a great source of nutrients for your garden
There is some debate between experts over whether native plant species are better for our wildlife and a study is currently underway at the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Wisley garden in Surrey to determine which bugs like best.
Helen Bostock is a RHS wildlife gardening specialist who runs the Plants for Bugs project and has researched the most frequently recommended plants to attract the birds, bees, butterflies and more.
Her top ten plants every wildlife gardener should consider for their patch are: sunflowers, foxgloves, thyme, lavender, honeysuckle, rowan, ice plant, firethorn, barberry and purple loosestrife.