Wildlife gardening

While our farmers are working hard for wildlife, you too can be Fair to Nature at home and in the garden; all small steps will have a positive effect on the environment.

Small child planting seedsThe whole family can share the gardening; encourage children with their own flower patch or use their old wellington boots as planters. There are lots of different things that you can do including recycling, managing water, encouraging wildlife and growing your own fruit and vegetables, to make your own small but vital difference to the natural world around us.

Recycling

Cardboard toilet roll tubes are perfect for starting peas, carrots, sweetcorn and other crops that have deep roots. Just fill the toilet roll tubes with compost and sow seeds into the top of the tube. When the young plants are big enough to move outdoors, plant the entire tube in the ground and it will decompose into the soil.

Bee friendly garden

Bumble Bee on Crocus - Feb 2012Bees are important insects in our gardens. Planting pollen and nectar rich flowers will encourage them into the garden and keep them in good supply of food from spring through until late summer. Not all flowering plants are good nectar sources for all bees. Bees use their tongues to get the nectar out of flowers and different bee species have different length tongues. Some flowers hide their nectar at the base of long tunnel-like petals so bees with short tongues can’t get it! So it’s best to choose a range of plants. Staff at your local garden centre will happily give advice on the best plants, or visit the gardening page on the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust’s website.

Log piles

If you have an area behind a shed or a back of a border where nothing really grows, why not build a log pile. A log pile can create a habitat for a whole variety of wildlife, from spiders, woodlice, butterflies and ladybirds through to small mammals for sheltering in over winter. If you have a pond and room for a log pile nearby, it’s a great place for frogs, toads and other amphibians to hibernate. A simple log pile can quickly become a flourishing wildlife community.Insect Mansion

Alternatively, if you don’t have much space in your garden, you can use bamboo to create a mini log pile or an insect hotel. Cut some short lengths of bamboo cane and bundle them together with some gardeners string. Then place an old plant pot on its side in your garden and pop the bamboo inside and there you have – your very own insect habitat! Solitary bees, ladybirds, and other insects will seek out the holes in the bamboo canes as cosy places to hibernate.

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