As whimsical as it may sound, there is nothing that brings me more happiness than sitting in my garden and watching bees, butterflies and other insects doing their thing and enjoying the blooms. No matter how big your space is, a wildlife garden is an incredible way to ensure the protection and conservation of our wildlife. You may be lucky enough to have a large space and keep a corner wild and rugged or a small courtyard with some potted lavender and wild flowers to keep the bees happy or even just a bird feeder stuck to your flat window – there’s no limit regardless of your space!
The nature you will be protecting includes but is by no means limited to just the birds and the bees, there’s over 8000 species using our gardens. The sad truth of today is that we have seen a 68% decline in wildlife in the last five decades, so now more than ever do we need to protect the wildlife in our world. There’s an estimated 24 million gardens in the UK, there’s no excuse to not do our bit to encourage and protect wildlife.
We have around 267 species of bee in the UK. These include 1 species of honey bee and 25 bumblebee species, the rest (around 90%) are solitary bees. Bees provide an important service, they pollinate our crops allowing us to grow plants such as tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries and green beans. Bees and other pollinators have seen dramatic declines over the past 80 years as a result of habitat loss, disease and the overuse of pesticides, gardens have therefore become even more important for them.
Garden birds might appear to have it all together but we can help them live the life they need. During the hot summer months when water is all dried up or in the winter when it’s frozen, it’s important to ensure they have a good water supply. Whether it’s a proper bird bath or like my make shift bin lid, flip it upside down and fill with water. Make sure to keep it clean and filled up and they’ll soon by frolicking in it like it’s an infinity pool!
It’s not always about the wildlife that you can watch from your kitchen window; wildlife including hedgehogs, beetles and bats are all on the decline so instead of a fence or tidy boundary, keep your hedgerows wild to ensure a safe place for them to live and breed. If you are cutting back any hedgerows, be sure to find out the right time for doing so, once babies have flown the nest so no longer require it, else you could be unknowingly sabotaging their home and making the young very vulnerable.
Tidy gardens may look nice or be low maintenance but nothing is better than protecting the environment and important biodiversity which plays a much bigger part of our world than it gets credit!
For more advice, check out the Wildlife Trusts website and get planting!