Whilst we spend more time at home, it can be used as a time to think about how we can make our homes better for wildlife. You may not realise it when you look out on your garden and see bees and butterflies emerging, and birds fluttering around looking for mates, but wildlife is under serious threat.
We are hearing lots of good stories at the moment though. Experts are saying hedgehog numbers should rise and the movement of species will be better because of us not using our roads. Air pollution is falling, which is good for wildlife as well as humans.
But let’s make this a little bit better! We can all do our bit at home. According to The Wildlife Trusts - our gardens cover a larger area than all our nature reserves combined!
So here’s a useful guide making your garden more wildlife-friendly. If you feel inspired please pledge to do something this year through our Pledge to make your garden more wildlife-friendly.
Grow pollinator-friendly plants
Pollinators feed on nectar, so let’s get the garden full of flowers! The easiest way of doing this is to let a portion of your green space grow. Instead of mowing it, let the daisies rise and the buttercups flourish. You may even get some really interesting wildflowers if you let things grow long enough!
If you’ve got plants such as buddleia, let them flower at this time of the year as they will attract loads of butterflies. You can cut this back later on.
If you’ve got the means, then get some plants that flower throughout the summer, then plant some honeysuckle, bellflowers and foxgloves, as these are great for bees.
If you’ve just got a balcony, then you can plant seeds in a hanging bottle - the video below is provided to give you a helping hand!
Feed the birds
At this time of the year birds are looking for mates and setting up their nests. It’s a really good time to attract more birds to your garden.
To do this:
Put out food - You can even make a bird feeder out of a plastic bottle (check out the video below) and put in some easy to buy peanuts or even some bird seeds, as these can still be delivered!
Put water out - If you haven’t got a pond or bird bath, then put out a dish every day. During this April heat they will really appreciate it and set up home!
You’ve got food waste right! Well a great way of encouraging insects into your garden is to compost this waste.
These composting areas, or even just using a micro-composting bin, create great places for millipedes, woodlice and spiders, and are an excellent source of food for species such as butterflies. Slugs and snails will be attracted and worms will help turn your old food into useful compost for next year.
So - build a little area for composting this year and save the frontline bin man a job! Build a large compost spot with old pallets or even make a micro composter out of an old bucket. The video linked here may provide inspiration!
Make a hole in the fence
When hedgehogs, bunnies and badgers are feeling as free as they possibly could be during a traffic free lockdown, you can still make their lives even better!
It’s pretty simple - make a hole in your fence to allow them to travel and enjoy your garden at night. If you’ve got the tech, you may even want to set up a night camera and see who comes in.
Here’s a video from the Wildlife Trusts to give you a hand!
Avoid using pesticides
If you’re growing food, then please avoid using pesticides. Many of them persist in water and throughout the food chain, killing wildlife. There are some alternatives.
Use diluted household detergent to spray on your plants to kill off greenfly and blackfly. For slugs you can try the old trick of using a beer trap instead of using slug pellets (see video linked here), and if you’re really pushed, then please avoid using metaldehyde slug pellets - use ferric phosphate slug pellets.
Above all, helping wildlife thrive will tackle pests, as they are themselves food for other species!
Make a Wildlife Pond
A project for lockdown could be to make a small pond - why not!
You could create amazing habitats for dragonflies, frogs, and even some fish. This place will be filled full of amazing species within days of it being installed; with water boatmen and loads of different types of larvae making it their home.
It doesn’t have to be sophisticated. You simply need to dig a small hole and line it. Here’s a video to inspire you!
Make a woodpile or bug hotel
Simply piling up the branches of the trees you need to cut or wood debris from other garden projects is a great way of encouraging wildlife. Simply cut down wood and start piling it in an area of the garden.
Over the winter this could be a place for hedgehogs or frogs to hibernate and will be the home to slugs and snails, woodlice and many different types of insect. This little area can attract life and become a feature.
If you haven’t got the space then you can still make a bug hotel. They’re really fun projects for kids and can offer a home to some really rare bee species. Check out the video here!
Engaging in nature is proven to help your health and wellbeing by reducing stress and anxiety, whilst also encouraging physical exercise. Make sure you sit in your garden and look at the amazing species that come to it during lockdown.
Enjoy this time and appreciate all the amazing things nature brings to our gardens!
We have set up a pledge for members of Better Century. We want to protect 100 square meters of land through this pledge. Please become a member and help us if you’ve not already joined, and let us know what you’re doing and let’s reach the target together! You can do this by clicking here.
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 55% of species in the UK are in decline and we have 15% on the IUCN Red List threatened with extinction (State of Nature Report 2019). One of the most alarming figures is the loss of nearly 80% of the biomass of insects globally, with this threatening food security (IPBES, 2019).