What do you think of when someone says wildlife garden? Do you think of long grass and exotic flowers, or a sprinkling of ponds and herb gardens. Whatever crosses your mind you can make it happen!
Did you know that bees are a critical part of our ecosystem? Without them our planet would practically fall into despair and unfortunately, due to the fault of humans, they are now endangered. So, let’s start with an easy tip to let bees know they’ve always got a safe place in your garden.
How to make a haven for bees…
Bees love flowers, they are pollinators which means they collect pollen from plants. So, the first step to keep your garden a bee friendly zone is to keep your dandelions until summer. You may think they’re weeds but dandelions are the only food source for bees during spring.
Secondly you can plant wildflowers. Don’t plant hybridised plants that have been bred not to seed, keep it simple, daisies and marigolds are good. Try planting different types of flowers in your garden to make sure there are flowers for most of the year.
Spring flowers include:
Crocuses, hyacinth, borage, calendula and wild lilac.
Summer flowers include:
Bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons and foxgloves.
Autumn flowers include:
Zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel and goldenrod.
Finally, some plants to help bees through winter ant into spring:
Aconite, Evergreen clematis, lungwort, Oregon grape, primrose, winter flowering heather and winter flowering honeysuckle.
Another great thing you could do is leave a part of your garden wild when your mowing the lawn.
Finally, ditch those pesticides or use natural ones.
How to create a pond
Creating a pond is a great way to bring wildlife to your garden, it doesn’t even need to be that big.
Firstly you’ll need a plastic container that is at least 45 litres. Although it’s plastic it is not single use. Hopefully your pond will be there for a very long time.
Mark out where you want your pond to go, making sure it’s the same size as your container. Then dig a hole a little deeper than it needs to be and make sure there is no sharp stones that could puncture your container. Add a layer of sand to the bottom of the hole to make sure the box is level when it is inserted in the soil.
Next insert your container in the hole filling the gaps around the edges with excess soil. Put bricks and stones on one side of the container to make sure animals can get in and out. You could make holes in the bricks for creatures to hide in. Add a layer of pebbles to the bottom of your pond and next time it rains the water will fill your pond. Wait and see what creatures make your pond their home.
Create a bug hotel
Create a bug hotel from natural materials to attract bugs to you garden.
You will need an old wooden box or you can make one if you want. Other materials you will need are: cut bamboo pieces, stems, twigs, seed heads, pinecones, wood shavings and lichen.
Place the materials inside the box, packed tightly so it won’t fall out but with enough hiding spots for the bugs. Place the hotel in your garden to attract and conserve your native bugs.