New Year means dreaded New Year resolutions. But don’t despair, why not make some very simple gardening resolutions that will provide a home for wildlife and give you hours of fun. Follow these four simple steps and watch the wildlife in your garden bloom.
Provide food for butterflies and moths all year round.
Add some new nectar plants to your garden. Aim to provide a food source for butterflies and moths from spring through to autumn. Plan to have at least one Buddleia in flower during the Big Butterfly Count, (Saturday 19 July to Sunday 10 August). Encourage butterflies and moths to breed by leaving a small patch of grass to grow unchecked. A wild patch provides vital foodplants for caterpillars.
Make Your Own Compost
Garden and uncooked vegetable kitchen waste can be turned into organic matter in a compost heap and then added to borders to provide nutrients for plants. The compost heap itself, if made as a slatted box, can also become a home for wildlife such as slow worms and hedgehogs which are drawn to the warmth. By making your own compost you can cut down on use of peat-based composts. This in turn will help the declining Large Heath butterfly which inhabits peat bogs.
Create a pond
Ponds are a wonderful way to attract all kinds of wildlife to your garden. As well as providing much-needed habitat for frogs, toads, newts and dragonflies they also provide a water source for birds and mammals. Additionally, plants that thrive in the damp, boggy ground next to a pond can be good for butterflies and moths - Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis is the foodplant of the Orange-tip butterfly.
Keep a nature journal
Recording how your garden fares from month-to-month makes it easier to review successes at the end of the year. Jot down what you plant, how well it thrives, when it flowers and which butterflies, moths and other pollinators find it attractive. This vital information will reveal what plants work best for the wildlife in your garden. You might also want to record notable weather and any special wildlife visitors which will give you a greater understanding of the ecology of your back yard.
The BC Towers ‘Secret Gardener’