Wildlife in your garden
Gardens, whether private or communal, are important habitats for wildlife, and there are many ways we can make them better still. Even formal gardens can benefit wildlife if we choose plants that provide food, shelter and places to nest. The Wild About Gardens website provides information on which plants will benefit wildlife in any situation from a meadow to a herbaceous border or container, and is endorsed by the Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Horticultural Society.
To help you find out how you can help the wildlife in your garden, the London Wildlife Trust and Tower Hamlets Council have produced a FREE wildlife gardening pack. You can download a copy here (PDF 3MB).
10 things you can do in your garden
- Plant native trees, shrubs and grasses to attract and feed native birds, and remove non native weeds and garden plants that could invade natural habitats.
- Replace some of your open lawn with garden beds and wild flower meadows.
- Make hiding and sunning spots for insects by using half buried stones and logs and mulch placed close to shelter and food. As well as providing homes for beetles and worms, which in turn are food for birds and insects, natural mulch also helps to save water.
- Create a wildlife pond. Let frogs, newts and other water mini-beasts move in by themselves. Never take them or their tadpoles and spawn from the wild. Locate the pond away from bedrooms and neighbours, as frogs can be noisy. See Froglife's easy guide to pond creation (PDF 2.4MB).
- Attract butterflies by planting nectar-producing plants and caterpillar foodplants such as buckthorns, birdfott-trefoil and nettles in sunny spots of the garden.
- Provide shelter, nest and food sites for small native birds by planting clumps of local native shrub species such as hawthorn, blackthorn and ivy, or install a specially designed nest box if your garden contains a medium to large tree without a hollow.
- Avoid use of chemical pesticides. Insecticides not only kill the pest can also poison birds, amphibians and small mammals that feed on them. Try using alternatives such as copper strips or coffee granules to deter slugs or encourage natural predators.
- Keep your cat inside at dusk and dawn or consider building an outdoor enclosure connected to the house. Cats deter birds from visiting your garden.
- Compost your waste. As well as helping to recycle waste and reduce the use of peat, decaying plant material provides habitats for insects, worms, mites and other invertebrate animals and will be important feeding areas for birds and insectivorous mammals, such as hedgehogs.
- Obtain a wildlife gardening pack to guide you in the creation of important features in your garden, balcony or up your walls to enhance and protect wildlife and help bring your garden alive, providing you with endless hours of enjoyment and relaxation.
And, of course, read our Gardening for Wildlife page!