An award-winning gardener’s top-tips for creating a wildlife friendly garden...
In celebration of RHS National Gardening Week and RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022: An award-winning gardener’s top-tips for creating a wildlife friendly garden
Following the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) National Gardening Week, a few weeks ago, we spoke to Beverly Rodway from landscape designers, Benchmark, on how to create a wildlife friendly garden.
Benchmark are the landscaping expertise behind the beautiful landscaping at our new development The Burrows - a collection of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes set in Paddock Wood, Kent.
Beverly shares her easy tips for encouraging and supporting native wildlife at home which many have been incorporated into the landscaping at The Burrows, from hedgehog highways and houses to insect hotels, wildflower turfs, bee and butterfly friendly plants, plus much more.
Benchmark’s top tips for creating a wildlife friendly garden:
Provide a rich variety of food
- Much of the food in your garden that wildlife rely on comes from flowers and shrubs, so the more you plant, the better! Aim for nectar and pollen-rich varieties and choose a range of different species so that you have something flowering throughout the year. Scented plants such as clematis, jasmine, lavender and rosemary all work really well
- If you have space in your garden, why not dedicate an area to wildflower?
- You could also plant a native hedgerow such as field maple, hazel, hawthorn or holly
- For our feathered friends, install bird feeders and bird tables
Ensure a good supply of water
- Water is the most important element for a wildlife-rich home. If you have the space, a small pond or bog garden is a fantastic way of attracting frogs, newts and dragonflies
- A bird bath is the perfect option for smaller gardens
- Use rainwater rather than tap water in your garden - installing a water butt is a great way to collect water for your bird bath and plants
Create natural habitats
- Animals need cover under which to move between habitats and to provide somewhere to breed. Shrubs around the perimeter of the garden provide perfect shelter
- You could also install nest boxes for birds, bat boxes, solitary bee boxes, bug hotels and hedgehogs houses. These are available from various websites including www.rspb.co.uk or you can make your own
- Dead and decaying wood is as important for wildlife as living wood – many insects, worms, fungi and some plants rely on dead wood for food or shelter. Creating log piles or dead wood features is a really simple and effective way of creating your own wildlife shelter. Logs can be partially buried in the ground or laid flat in a criss-cross fashion filling gaps with twigs and branches. Beetles and fungi will soon come to use the dead wood and add more diversity to the garden. You may also find reptiles or amphibians hiding beneath your logs!
Make your garden accessible
- Wildlife needs to be able to move between habitats, so to really maximise the positive effects of your garden, wildlife should be able to get in and out easily
- You could make a small hole at the bottom of your fence behind the shrubbery in a couple locations to allow hedgehogs and other wildlife to move from one area or garden to the next
Go chemical free
- Avoid using chemicals in your garden as much as possible. Use peat-free compost and, if you can, source plants that have been grown in peat-free varieties
- Composting organic household waste can provide a great free source of natural fertilizer and a compost bin is the perfect location for egg laying and hibernation for some amphibians, reptiles and worms
By adopting some simple and cost-effective ideas, we can all encourage more wildlife into our gardens. The more we come together as a community to take collective steps, the greater the local impact will be on local wildlife. Make the changes, be patient, and our bees, birds, bats and hedgehogs will thrive.
To find out more about how you could become part of this neighbourhood, visit: The Burrows