Make your own wildlife garden.
Now is a good time to make a difference to your own patch of this earth. Making a better wildlife habitat in your garden is easy and does not cost a lot of money, but can make a huge difference to how you garden works environmentally.
If you have a formal garden with lawn and borders, you can make a small rockery in a corner, this will encourage Toads (who will eat Slugs) Beetles and insects (food for birds). Maybe put a small pond next to the rockery, only the size of a bucket and this will encourage the Toads, as well as insects, Lizards and Dragonflies. In the borders you can put beneficial insect homes, these will attract solitary bees (for pollination) Ladybirds (Aphid, Blackfly and Greenfly control) Butterfly and Lacewing homes will bring in these creatures and they will add colour and life to your plants and flowers. If you have enough space to plant a small fruit tree, than the Ladybirds and Lacewings will help pollinate the trees too.
If you have a bit more space, then just leave a patch of grass to grow through the year and this will encourage small mammals, worms and Beetles, it only needs a few square metres, if you want to see a bit of colour, plant a few bulbs, like Bluebell's, Whitebell's, Crocus, Snowdrop, these will all pop up early enough in the year not to be swamped by the grass, it is best to cut the grass back in the late Autumn, this will leave it tidy for the Winter and allow the bulbs to grow through the grass in the next Springtime.
If you have even more space then consider making a wildlife area in your garden. If you can start with a blank canvas, then think about what you can get out of the space. You want to get as much pleasure from watching what is going on as you want to see the benefit to the environment. This depends on what space you have, for example we have an area of around 150 square meters, we have rotavatored the ground and are preparing to set a meadow with wild flowers in amongst the native grasses. Two fruit trees, a Peach and a Pear will provide blossom and fruit (for us or the wasps -whichever gets there first!) as well as shade and food for the insects. We have cut up old railway sleepers for borders around the base of the trees, so we can throw in a bag of manure once a year, this will feed the trees, provide food for insects and act as a mulch for weed control under the trees to give them the best chance of food from the soil. We will apply the same methods as in the two smaller garden suggestions above, but will make them slightly larger, it is the same theory, but on a larger scale. so, a small pond, an area for rocks, insect and bee homes, some old carpet (laid on the ground for things to crawl under - Newts, Sloworms, Beetles). We will lay a pile of old wood, twigs and brush cuttings in a corner and put a Hedgehog house
under it. In the centre of the meadow will be a large bird bath, just an old shallow sink, but we will mount it on a plinth of stone and allow it to slope one way, this will allow the birds to "wade" into the water and decide which is the best depth for them to bath, the reason for it being elevated on a plinth is so the small animals can't get in and get stuck. Next we will make a wild bird feeding station
and encourage the birds to that section of the garden, they will eat worms and insects and provide song and movement to the air.
I suppose I should take some photos and then you will be able to see what we are doing to provide our own small area of natural habitat, maybe I will do this tomorrow.
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Add a Hedgehog house and other wildlife homes to your garden to provide a sanctuary for beneficial insects, bees and small mammals.[/caption]