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A wider perspective

Gardening for wildlife needs a two-pronged approach. If we create a garden that is beneficial for our local wildlife by buying products that cause habitat destruction in other areas, we might risk doing more harm than good. We need to make sure that the ways we garden do as little harm in the wider world as possible; then we can start making our garden as good for wildlife as it can be.

Sunflowers are easy to grow from seed

Where to buy plants

When we’re buying new plants or materials for the garden, we need to think about how they are sourced. Many of us are already avoiding peat when we buy compost for the garden, and we can also seek out peat-free nurseries when we buy new plants.

If you avoid the use of insecticides in your garden (and the research is very clear that you should), you might also want to find pesticide-free nurseries to support – so that the plants you buy don’t pose a risk to insects in your garden.

Growing your own plants from seed or cuttings is the most sustainable way to source plants; swapping spare plants with friends and neighbours builds community as well as biodiversity. 

Vanessa cardui on Lavandula angustifolia-2459_edited.jpg

Flowers of all shapes and sizes

Selecting the right plants for pollinators will make a real difference to the insects using your garden. You can find my top recommendations right here

Choosing single-flowered plants in preference to double-flowered cultivars increases the amount of pollen and nectar available for pollinator species. 

Planting a range of plants with different flower shapes will attract a variety of species of insect – and making sure that there is something in your garden in bloom all year round is absolutely vital, especially as our seasons become less predictable.

Seedheads in snow

Making a home for wildlife

Making your own compost has a whole heap of benefits, from reducing the carbon cost of transporting bought-in compost, to providing a habitat in the compost heap for invertebrates and even reptiles. 

Keeping an area of grass unmown is the quickest way to boost biodiversity in your garden. You’ll see a range of wildflowers quickly springing into life as soon as you give the mower a rest. Mowing a neat border around the area helps to show that it’s meant to look that way – and a sign can help neighbours to appreciate your efforts.

Seedheads and stems in borders left standing over winter will provide a home for hibernating beetles, as well as looking beautiful on a frosty morning. 

Honey bee on apple blossom

Protecting our home

And lastly, as the impacts of climate change on our local wildlife becomes ever clearer, every step we take to reduce climate emissions is vital. As our seasons shift, the links between species are stretched and risk breaking; for example, as fruit trees bloom earlier, late-emerging pollinators are unable to benefit from them, and the flowers go unpollinated. Unless we tackle climate change, our best efforts in the garden will be fruitless.

Gardening for wildlife: Projects
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