More and more clients are asking for wildlife friendly gardens and planting. It’s not difficult to make this happen you just need to do some investigation and planning and away you go…
INSECTS & INVERTEBRATES
Don’t be too tidy with your garden but leave undisturbed corners where you can. Many small creatures will hide during the daytime here and by allowing insects and other invertebrates to congregate, they act as a snack bar for birds. Try to avoid using the spray gun when you see a few greenfly unless they are causing serious damage – let the birds clear up your insect pests.
At this time of year continue to provide water and a variety of food for visiting birds. Remember to clean the feeders and ground feeding areas regularly to prevent disease build-up.
By using a range of feeders, including those that hang, a bird table and food on the ground, together with a mix of foods, you’ll attract the widest range of species.
Whatever the adult diet, all baby birds are fed on insects, worms, spiders or other invertebrates, at least to begin with, as they need concentrated supplies of protein and fat for rapid growth.
Make a twiggery by pilling prunings in a quiet spot in the garden or allotment, behind the shed or under a hedge. This makes a good habitat for smaller mammals, birds that nest near the ground and insects.
Leave dead herbaceous stems as long as possible before clearing away. They may be carrying seeds for birds or housing insects. They will also shelter the plants emerging shots.
Complete winter pruning by the end of February, as leaving it later may disturb early nesters such as blackbirds. If pruning buddlejas, cut some back hard now, but leave others until March. They will flower later, giving a longer season of nectar for birds and butterflies.
A good butterfly garden will have a wide range of plants flowering from spring through to autumn and producing nectar. They like warm, sheltered sunny spots in a garden so think
about your garden design before you decide where to plant. Some of my favourite plants to attract butterflies and birds are listed here to give you some inspiration:
Aster novae – angliae
Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’
Mason bees are important pollinators in the garden actually better than honey bees, as they work harder and fly in poorer weather. You can encourage them with specially designed bee nests from wildlife catalogues or make your own packed in a tin. Position the nests above the ground in a sunny spot such as a south- facing fence.
AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES
Frogs and toads hit a peak period of mating and spawn producing in March. Although it may be tempting, you shouldn’t move spawn into your garden from other ponds as this could spread disease. If your pond is suitable, amphibians will find it. Lizards and snakes that have been hibernating through the winter start to emerge on warmer spring days, hungry for a tasty beetle or a tender frog.