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What are soft fruits?
Wildlife friendly gardens

LEARN ABOUT Wildlife friendly gardens

This month we’re diving into the world of wildlife friendly gardens. We’ll be learning all about garden wildlife, the best ways to attract even more fascinating insects and animals into your outdoor space, and why looking after wildlife is so important to keeping our planet happy and healthy how to harvest your fruits, and finally, how to enjoy them!

Flower garden with fresh plants stones

What is a wildlife friendly garden?

A wildlife friendly garden is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a garden that's a welcoming home for all kinds of creatures. If you have a garden, the great news is it can be really easy to attract more wildlife

A wildlife friendly garden is a place where there is a wide variety of plants and flowers, plenty of water and food for creatures to drink and eat, and lots of nice places for them to take shelter and feel cosy

‘Rewilding’ is a word that means letting a place become wild again. We can have a go at this in our gardens by simply letting nature do its thing – even in a small space!

This means allowing some grasses, flowers and weeds to grow wild, and by leaving some ‘messy’ areas or piles of leaves and logs for bugs to enjoy

butterflies flying around field flowers

What are the benefits of a wildlife friendly garden?

  • They can help us connect with the wonders of nature
  • Simply watching wildlife can help us feel happier
  • They help the environment by encouraging something called biodiversity
  • They are a safe space for local wildlife
  • Your plants will thrive even more
countryside landfield

WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

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Biodiversity is like a big nature family. In this family, there are lots of different plants and animals, each with their own unique jobs

  • Biodiversity means we have lots of different colours, shapes, and sizes of plants and animals in our nature family
  • Biodiversity helps keep the planet a nice place to live, so that everyone – including humans – can survive
  • The world is made up of many different ecosystems, and biodiversity keeps them in balance
  • An ecosystem means that every single creature is important – from tiny invisible helpers in the soil, to big scary lions hunting for prey. If one part of the ecosystem is disturbed, the whole thing gets messed up!
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Wildlife we can find in our gardens

These are just some of the amazing creatures we could see in our gardens, how many of these have you come across?

bumblebees

Pollinators

Bees, butterflies and ladybirds are special bugs that help plants and flowers grow. We call them ‘pollinators’ and they are like nature's delivery team, helping plants make seeds and fruits by transporting pollen. They make sure our garden is full of beautiful flowers, yummy fruits, and tasty veggies

earthworm

Soil superheroes

Bugs like worms, ants, and beetles are like nature's helpers for plants. Worms make tunnels to help air and water get through the soil, ants clean up old leaves and beetles turn old plants into plant food

Feathered friends

Feathered friends

In the garden you might spot birds like robins, blackbirds, starlings and finches. Birds are a really important part of our wildlife, they help to spread seeds for new plants to grow and keep the ecosystem healthy by eating bugs

Fantastic frogs

Fantastic frogs and toads

If you have a pond, you can expect visits from these happy hopping creatures. Just like birds, they help to keep insect numbers down, and tadpoles (baby frogs) also help pond life thrive by eating harmful algae

Happy hedgehogs

Happy hedgehogs

Hedgehogs aren’t just cute, they’re an important part of the garden ecosystem as they also eat certain insects that can damage plants. You can attract more spikey visitors by creating special hedgehog highways – small holes in fences or underneath walls

Squirrels

Super squirrels

We can often see squirrels scurrying up and down trees. These cute creatures are an important part of our garden ecosystem as they help break open nuts and seeds for birds to eat, or bury them in the soil to help new plants and trees to grow

The best plants for your wildlife friendly garden

Creating a wildlife friendly garden means having lots of different kinds of plants – these are just a few that could help attract more wildlife to your garden

flowers garden

Flowers

When you’re planting flowers, try to include a wide variety of shapes and colours – this makes sure there’ll be a flower to suit every insect!

blackberries bush

Berries

Birds like to visit to snack on these tasty treats. Make your garden a bird-friendly buffet by planting berries like raspberries, blackberries and elderberries

tree top

Trees and hedges

Large plants like trees and hedges are a home to many different species of animals and insects, like birds, squirrels, ants and more

ferns

Ferns and grasses

For those creatures that live in and around the ground, tall grasses and ferns provide the perfect amount of shade and shelter so they can feel cosy and safe

GIVING WILDLIFE SHELTER AND FOOD

When you provide food and shelter, it's like inviting lots of animal friends to eat, relax, and have a great time – it also encourages them to keep coming back!
Here are some different ways you can do this in your garden

Bird boxes

Bird boxes

By adding a bird box or two, you can encourage feathered friends to set up their nests in your garden. Come spring you can look forward to watching baby birds being fed by their parents

Bird baths

Bird baths

Just like we do, birds enjoy keeping cool and hydrated in warm weather. A bird bath means they can splash around and have a nice refreshing drink whenever they like

Log piles

Log piles

Something as simple as a small pile of logs can quickly become a paradise for insects, giving them a nice little hideaway in your garden

Butterfly feeders

Butterfly feeders

Butterflies love to feed from flowers in your garden, but if you’re just getting started, or you’re short on space, a butterfly feeder is a great way to attract more of these pretty insects

Planning your wildlife friendly garden

Now that you’ve learned all about wildlife friendly gardens, here are some simple steps you can follow to create your very own.
Doing even one of these can have a big impact!

raspberry bush

Choose yummy plants

Wildlife love to eat lots of different things, just like we do. Choose plants that make tasty snacks for animals – like flowers, fruits, or vegetables

bug shelter

Provide shelter

In the wild, animals and insects have lots of places they feel safe. If we can recreate these in our gardens, they’ll be more likely to stay

bird water

Make a water playground

Adding a water source like a bird bath or a shallow dish for different creatures to drink from is a great way to keep wildlife coming back

Avoid scary chemicals

Avoid scary chemicals

Gardening products like fertiliser and pesticides can contain nasty chemicals which are harmful to wildlife. Instead, choose ones that are natural and wildlife friendly – remember, not all bugs are pests!

early spring flowers

Leave some messy spaces

Tidiness doesn’t exist in the wild, which is why wildlife will always prefer a little bit of mess instead. Leave areas in your garden where weeds can grow, or make piles of fallen leaves instead of putting them in the bin