Giving nature a home this autumn Part 3

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Increasing the biodiversity of your garden does not have to be difficult nor should it make your garden look unattractive. Choosing the right plants for your garden will help you make your garden more wildlife friendly. Flowers will provide pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other insect pollinators. Insect will also provide food for birds, bats and other small mammals.

Butterfly Bush
Plant a mixture of trees, hedges, shrubs, bushes and climbers. Place the plants around the garden as they will provide food and shelter for wildlife. Trees and other larger plants will provide the most wildlife especially food in the form of flowers, fruits and seed. The trees and other larger plants will provide cover and nesting sites for insects, birds and small mammals. If you have a small garden, you can either have dwarf varieties of apple trees that will grow between 6 and 8 foot tall. I have a medium sized garden with two medium sized deciduous trees and three mature bushes, which were in the garden when I moved in my flat. Choose plants that can provide nectar and pollen the longest. Crocuses and Mahonia shrubs are the best for spring and through to autumn the Michaelmas daisy (Asters), Showy Stonecrop and ivy which is late to bloom and could provide food into early winter.


Plants to attract wildlife making a wildlife friendly garden

Holly, ivy and mistletoe

Rosemary

Honeysuckle

Sunflowers

Buddleia, purple, white, pink, or red.

Red and white clover

Bluebells

Comfrey

Evening primrose

Foxglove

A ringlet butterfly on a flower.
I. Avoid peat based compost but use compost that is ethically sourced. Another way is make your own compost, either by using a compost bin or making a compost heap in your garden.

II. Save rainwater by having water-butts and barrels in your garden. If you want to have a pond, only fill it up with rainwater and top it up when needed.

III. Only buy FSC approved garden furniture or charcoal.

IV. When planting native plants or using native plant seeds, ensure they are not of continental origin and that they are sourced locally. Make sure that wild flower seeds and/or plants have been grown legally from collected seed and not dug-up from the wild.

V. Recycle wherever possible. Use reclaimed, old materials when building wildlife habitats and raised borders. Old pallets and scaffold planks make excellent materials for building various structures in your garden.

VI. Avoid the use of pesticides and only use non-toxic, non-chemical alternatives that will not harm wildlife.

VII. Set aside a small area of the garden that will remain untouched and let it grow wild.

VIII. Avoid as much as possible the use of pesticides when dealing with insects like aphids by containing them in a particular area.

IX. Companion planting is a good way to trap insects, plants carefully. Using this method will not only provide a method to ensnare insects but act as way of providing protection from the effects of the weather, attracting beneficial pests and acting as a decoy to harmful ones.

X. Make sure that you provide the wildlife with a good supply of food and water.

XI. Small mammals need a clear access to your garden; to do this either provide a hole or a gap in your fence.

A beautiful garden in Pennsylvania.

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