Getting wild about gardens

Friday 25th October 2013

Bill Oddie OBE with wildflower seeds cpt www.ChrisTaylorPhotography.comBill Oddie OBE with wildflower seeds cpt www.ChrisTaylorPhotography.com

Bill Oddie is encouraging everyone to nurture nature during Wild About Gardens Week (25-31 Oct 2013) by providing vital refuges and valuable havens for wildlife.

Any garden, no matter how tiny, can be made to support some wildlife

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) are working with gardeners and community groups in an effort to halt the decline of UK species, such as hedgehogs and butterflies.   

Whether private or public, gardens offer a wealth of habitats for wildlife.  A pond is one of the most effective ways to attract garden wildlife, and wildflowers provide essential food for insects such as butterflies and bees.

Creating a more wildlife-friendly garden isn’t difficult.  More than 80% of UK households have access to a garden, and The Wildlife Trusts’ Vice-President Bill Oddie insists that “any garden, no matter how tiny, can be made to support some wildlife.

“The millions of gardens across the UK make a huge collective contribution to wildlife and also enable millions of people to enjoy first-hand contact with nature. By taking a few simple steps to encourage wildlife, everyone can play a part in helping garden wildlife to thrive.”

Here are six suggestions of things you can to do to nurture nature in your garden:

  1. Please the pollinators!  Plants such as viper’s bugloss, comfrey and bird’s foot trefoil are beloved by bees.
  2. Say goodbye to slug pellets, and say hello to garden-friendly hedgehogs, frogs and birds that will eat slugs and snails for you.  An area of long grasses and a pile of logs will give your new friends a refuge too.
  3. Install a bird box or a bat box.  Or better still, both!
  4. Create a pond to make your own mini-wetland: quite apart from the creatures that may come to live in it, others may find it to feed, drink, bathe and breed.
  5. Add wildflowers for wildlife: scatter native wildflower seeds for an easy burst of colour and a great way to attract new species to your garden. – re-sown
  6. Start a compost heap.  Compost is good for your garden, reduces landfill and makes it easy to dispose of your kitchen and garden waste.  But a compost heap will also attract worms, insects, birds and other insect and slug predators such as hedgehogs.  You might even find a common newt sheltering there. 

Click here for more information on how to make your garden more wildlife friendly.

Throughout ‘Wild About Gardens Week’, talks and events are being held at The Wildlife Trusts’ visitor centres and four RHS Gardens.

Free advice and resources and even an events map are available online.

Bill Oddie is pictured with children from St George’s Cathedral Catholic Primary School, joining in pond-dipping and bug-hunting at London Wildlife Trust's Centre for Wildlife Gardening

Set within a quiet residential street, the Centre for Wildlife Gardening in Peckham offers practical advice to city gardeners. 

The perfect place to learn and relax, it’s a favourite of local families, gardeners and wildlife-watchers from further afield.  It has developed beyond all recognition over the last 20 years. 

Originally an old council depot, it is now home to an award-winning visitors' centre which provides a base for school parties.  The centre has a demonstration wildlife garden with a range of inspiring mini habitats, a wild flower nursery, and some very well-used community raised beds.

Tagged with: Wildlife gardening, Wild About Gardens Week