© Garden Cottage Nursery, 2017
Rabbits Rabbits
Encouraging Wildlife Into Your Garden

Wildlife Gardening

Recreating Eden
For most people their garden is the green space they most frequently visit and also the place they are most likely to encounter some kind of wildlife. There are a few quite simple things that can be done even in a smaller plot to increase wildlife quantity and diversity. You don’t of course necessarily want more of all sorts of wildlife, slugs are wildlife too, and feeding a fox can only bring about destruction and the wrath of your neighbourhood. We should all try to encourage biodiversity in our own personal small corner of the planet so here are a few suggestions: Don’t be too tidy. Leave some plant material to rot, clearing up the instant a plant dies back is removing valuable habitat for all manner of beasties. Having as pile of logs rotting in  a shady corner is a haven for all manner of creatures as well as often some quite ornamental or unusual fungi, and no unless nearby shrubs and tree are very unhealthy or dead already the fungi won’t spread to them. A descent sized pile of brash is a great way to encourage Wrens, these cute characterful wee birds with their piercing cry will often be seen darting in and out of such piles and may nest in your one, but they often have two or three piles they frequent. Consider not spending the whole of Sunday pushing a mower round and round. Even a fairly small area of long grass provides invaluable habitat, new flower species will move in without help but you can plant some native or non-native species to brighten it up and encourage pollinators.  Don’t rush to cut it again as soon as the flowers fade as the birds will descend to eat the grass seeds. Consider having a pond. A small bit of water will give habitat to all sorts of different wildlife. Hopefully some frogs or toads will find your garden loch as once they grow up they prove useful with their taste for slugs!  Do not collect frog spawn from the wild for you pond as this is illegal. Don’t take frog spawn from friends either as this can spread amphibian diseases from one area to another, let nature take it’s course, frogs, toads and newts cover a surprising amount of ground and if your pond is a suitable habitat they will find it soon enough. Fill your garden with nectar rich plants and ones with berries or seed heads that will provide food.  Our native flora is particularly poor in species for early emerging pollinators, so lots of spring flowering plants like bulbs are particularly valuable. In late summer it is easy to turn the nectar taps on for the butterflies with lots to choose from, not just the ubiquitous Buddleja, try Eupatorium, Verbena bonariensis and Sedum as well. A floriferous shrub like Olearia or Escallonia offers many more flowers for forages than a herbaceous perennial. Red berries are more noticeable to birds so choose plants with red rather than yellow fruits. For more info on what type of plants to plant for different types of pollinators look here:
Pollinators Pollinators
A few bird or bat boxes hidden about the garden can help make up for lost habitat in the wider environment. However feeding birds is not really such a good idea as it creates a reliance on an artificial food source and is rarely varied with what would be natural seasonal fluctuations. Too much feeding and you get a lot of half tame birds too fat to fly away from cats. Some small supplementary feeding would be appreciated in autumn, during harsh weather in winter and maybe something to help the parent fledge their chicks in late May early June. Tits, robins and blackbirds all eat various common garden pests so are most welcome in our gardens. Swallows eat midges so are the best of all birds! Have lots of evergreen trees and shrubs in your garden, these will give year-round homes and shelter to all kinds of wildlife. Conifer hedges like “Leylandii” are not very good, they are too thick and dark and have little secondary value from flowers for pollinators or fruit. They also acidify and dry-out the nearby soil so impeding wildlife. Try to have a mixture of cover and habitat, plant copses of trees and shrubs with open areas between to maximise different food sources. Pretty much all garden wildlife need some daylight so don’t make cover so dense daylight doesn’t penetrate. Eradicate any American grey furry tailed tree rats, they hinder native wildlife and damage your garden. There are still none this far north yet, thankfully. Pine martens look very cute and are lovely to see in the garden, but bear in mind that they are compact furry killing machines and their presence may not be appreciated by other wildlife in your garden, so if you see them passing through think twice before putting food out for them. Badgers aren’t as cute as they look and are angry most of the time (just ask a dairy cow) and are particularly fond of digging up bulbs and pulling apart walls to find snails, best to leave them alone. If you have a mink in your garden, please, please, please report it to you local mink control officer and it don’t feed it. Hedgehogs; I assume everyone knows by now are lactose intolerant and as they told you every year on Blue Peter, check bonfires before lighting them on Guy Fawkes Night. Sheep, deer, goats, cows, pigs, rabbits and hares are all very undesirable as garden wildlife and are best kept on the other side of a stout fence. For more information on gardening on rabbits and browsers:
In Brief
For the maximum biodiversity and biomass aim to: Vary habitats, have some trees, bushes and flower beds, a meadow rather than a lawn try to have a pond with a bog garden surrounding. Plant lots of different species to give good coverage of different types of food sources for as much of the year as possible. Don’t be too tidy: have a pile of rotting logs in a cool shady corner and don’t be too hasty with the pesticide, there may well already be somebody in your garden who will enjoy eating those beasties and are a few holes in the leaves really that bad?!
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© Garden Cottage Nursery, 2017
Encouraging Wildlife Into Your Garden

Wildlife

Gardening

Recreating Eden
For most people their garden is the green space they most frequently visit and also the place they are most likely to encounter some kind of wildlife. There are a few quite simple things that can be done even in a smaller plot to increase wildlife quantity and diversity. You don’t of course necessarily want more of all sorts of wildlife, slugs are wildlife too, and feeding a fox can only bring about destruction and the wrath of your neighbourhood. We should all try to encourage biodiversity in our own personal small corner of the planet so here are a few suggestions: Don’t be too tidy. Leave some plant material to rot, clearing up the instant a plant dies back is removing valuable habitat for all manner of beasties. Having as pile of logs rotting in  a shady corner is a haven for all manner of creatures as well as often some quite ornamental or unusual fungi, and no unless nearby shrubs and tree are very unhealthy or dead already the fungi won’t spread to them. A descent sized pile of brash is a great way to encourage Wrens, these cute characterful wee birds with their piercing cry will often be seen darting in and out of such piles and may nest in your one, but they often have two or three piles they frequent. Consider not spending the whole of Sunday pushing a mower round and round. Even a fairly small area of long grass provides invaluable habitat, new flower species will move in without help but you can plant some native or non-native species to brighten it up and encourage pollinators.  Don’t rush to cut it again as soon as the flowers fade as the birds will descend to eat the grass seeds. Consider having a pond. A small bit of water will give habitat to all sorts of different wildlife. Hopefully some frogs or toads will find your garden loch as once they grow up they prove useful with their taste for slugs!  Do not collect frog spawn from the wild for you pond as this is illegal. Don’t take frog spawn from friends either as this can spread amphibian diseases from one area to another, let nature take it’s course, frogs, toads and newts cover a surprising amount of ground and if your pond is a suitable habitat they will find it soon enough. Fill your garden with nectar rich plants and ones with berries or seed heads that will provide food.  Our native flora is particularly poor in species for early emerging pollinators, so lots of spring flowering plants like bulbs are particularly valuable. In late summer it is easy to turn the nectar taps on for the butterflies with lots to choose from, not just the ubiquitous Buddleja, try Eupatorium, Verbena bonariensis and Sedum as well. A floriferous shrub like Olearia or Escallonia offers many more flowers for forages than a herbaceous perennial. Red berries are more noticeable to birds so choose plants with red rather than yellow fruits. For more info on what type of plants to plant for different types of pollinators look here:
Pollinators Pollinators
A few bird or bat boxes hidden about the garden can help make up for lost habitat in the wider environment. However feeding birds is not really such a good idea as it creates a reliance on an artificial food source and is rarely varied with what would be natural seasonal fluctuations. Too much feeding and you get a lot of half tame birds too fat to fly away from cats. Some small supplementary feeding would be appreciated in autumn, during harsh weather in winter and maybe something to help the parent fledge their chicks in late May early June. Tits, robins and blackbirds all eat various common garden pests so are most welcome in our gardens. Swallows eat midges so are the best of all birds! Have lots of evergreen trees and shrubs in your garden, these will give year-round homes and shelter to all kinds of wildlife. Conifer hedges like “Leylandii” are not very good, they are too thick and dark and have little secondary value from flowers for pollinators or fruit. They also acidify and dry-out the nearby soil so impeding wildlife. Try to have a mixture of cover and habitat, plant copses of trees and shrubs with open areas between to maximise different food sources. Pretty much all garden wildlife need some daylight so don’t make cover so dense daylight doesn’t penetrate. Eradicate any American grey furry tailed tree rats, they hinder native wildlife and damage your garden. There are still none this far north yet, thankfully. Pine martens look very cute and are lovely to see in the garden, but bear in mind that they are compact furry killing machines and their presence may not be appreciated by other wildlife in your garden, so if you see them passing through think twice before putting food out for them. Badgers aren’t as cute as they look and are angry most of the time (just ask a dairy cow) and are particularly fond of digging up bulbs and pulling apart walls to find snails, best to leave them alone. If you have a mink in your garden, please, please, please report it to you local mink control officer and it don’t feed it. Hedgehogs; I assume everyone knows by now are lactose intolerant and as they told you every year on Blue Peter, check bonfires before lighting them on Guy Fawkes Night. Sheep, deer, goats, cows, pigs, rabbits and hares are all very undesirable as garden wildlife and are best kept on the other side of a stout fence. For more information on gardening on rabbits and browsers:
Rabbits Rabbits In Brief
For the maximum biodiversity and biomass aim to: Vary habitats, have some trees, bushes and flower beds, a meadow rather than a lawn try to have a pond with a bog garden surrounding. Plant lots of different species to give good coverage of different types of food sources for as much of the year as possible. Don’t be too tidy: have a pile of rotting logs in a cool shady corner and don’t be too hasty with the pesticide, there may well already be somebody in your garden who will enjoy eating those beasties and are a few holes in the leaves really that bad?!