Seeing our natural wildlife flourish is one of the great wonders of our country, and even domestic gardeners can do their bit to help. All gardens, whatever the size, are vital to encourage UK wildlife, and smaller gardens make up most of the green space that exists in the UK and they play a vital role in helping insects, mammals and insects to survive.
Don’t be put off by thinking that a garden has to be untidy to attract wildlife, even formal gardens can play their part, as it is not the way a garden is designed that is important, but what is planted in it. Having a selection of flowers rich in nectar and shrubs that produce berries will make a huge difference to the amount of wildlife which your garden will attract and thus support.
As with all gardens, the type of soil, the drainage and how much sun it gets all play a part in what you decide to plant. If you are planning to plant a new wildlife garden, have a wander around the green areas in your neighbourhood and see what grows wild, and also check out what look the healthiest plants in other gardens. If you have an established garden there are always tweaks you can make to improve it.
Some people say wildlife gardens should only feature native plants, but wildlife doesn’t discriminate. For example, Buddleia isn’t a plant native to the UK, but is adored by both insects and butterflies. Try and choose plants that flower at different times to make sure both nectar and pollen are available for the longest time possible, and plant shrubs and trees that produce berries for both birds and other animals.