One of the many privileges of being a self-employed gardener over the last 27 years has been discovering the amount wildlife that exists in peoples’ gardens. Over the years I have seen, deer, foxes, weasels, rabbits, hares, squirrels, stoats, hedgehogs, mice, adders, grass snakes, slow-worms, frogs, toads, newts, countless types of birds and even one of the big black cats! And of course all sorts of insects and creepy-crawlies.
When working in so many different gardens and aspects you tend to get a feel for what type of wildlife you’re likely to discover and therefore the conditions in needs to thrive. One thing I’ve really noticed over the years is that nature and wildlife will take advantage of the smallest opportunity in your garden and that you don’t need to go to great lengths in order to attract it. In fact on occasions I’ve even seen wildlife take advantage of areas that we’d rather not even see such as compost heaps, old sheds and piles of dumped rubbish. Of course nobody really wants piles of old tyres and a broken washing machine in their back garden, but there are other very simple things you can do to bring wildlife into your garden.
A few years ago I bought a very old earthenware sink that didn’t even have a plughole, it was only small, about the size of a footrest and only 6” deep. The idea was to fill it with water and just have some ornamental aquatic plants, but to my surprise within weeks three frogs and a newt took up residence and then dragonflies began to hover over the feature. So you can see that even the simplest of water features can attract wildlife.
Just leaving a hidden area of your garden untouched can help wildlife enormously, this allows wild flowers and grasses to grow, creating a habitat that will provide, food, shelter and a place for butterflies for example to lay their eggs.Log piles are probably the most amazing habitat for wildlife benefiting everything from soil bacteria all the way up to foxes and badgers who will feed on juicy worms, slugs and snails attracted to the area. These also make amazing homes for hedgehogs to hibernate and species of mice to name but a few.
Bird baths and bird tables are guaranteed to bring many species of birds into your garden and the use of fat balls and fresh unfrozen water in the winter will be a huge benefit for them.In a nutshell introducing simple features into your garden and leaving small areas untouched will automatically bring wildlife in, where it can feed, breed and feel safe.
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