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How do I create a wildlife friendly garden?
Ten things you can do to make your garden more wildlife friendly.
- By encouraging wildlife in even a fraction of the nation's gardens, 'green corridors' are created, helping to link up urban green spaces and the wider countryside.
- We use tonnes of pesticides each year - however if you encourage more creatures that eat pests into your garden, such as hedgehogs and frogs, you will not need to rely as much on sprays to keep control.
- A mass of life can be attracted to your garden with a pond. An old bath or sink can make an ideal pond but remember to include a shallow shelf for emergent plants and an escape route for frogs and other animals.
- In winter, don't forget to break the ice on your pond regularly in winter. Frogs may hibernate on the bottom of ponds, and if it is iced over for more than four days they may die.
- Did you know animals have their own motorway system? Hedgerows form sheltered corridors along which small animals can travel in safety. Hedgerows harbour a mixture of woodland and field flowers and offer an easy way to control larger growing trees.
- Over half of all peat products sold each year are bought by gardeners. However since 1950 94% of our peat bogs have been lost - so help protect precious peatland and their wildlife by buying peat-free compost - or try making your own! Peat is not even the best product for growing seeds and pot plants - other products such as coir and composted wood waste give excellent results.
- Try not to use water-worn limestone for rockeries - these come from irreplaceable, wildlife-rich limestone pavements. There is only 75 hectares of pavement left intact in the UK. Why not try using reclaimed stone from a salvage merchant, or even better, make your own 'eco-rocks' from a mixture of sand, cement and coir compost.
- Take a break from tidying and help wildlife - ladybirds love dry plant debris, loose bark and hollow stems for their winter homes. A pile of leaves will provide an ideal hibernation hot spot for hedgehogs.
- Nettles may look like weeds to you but they will attract some beautiful butterflies to your garden - the caterpillars of red admirals, peacocks, small tortoiseshells and commas will all munch on them. Keep a small nettle patch in an unobtrusive corner.
- Wildflowers will provide a beautiful splash of colour and attract spring and summer butterflies to your garden. Additionally grow nectar-rich garden plants, such as buddleia, scabious and ice-plant, in a sheltered sunny spot.
Find out more about gardening for wildlife.