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To-do list for this year?

What can I do to make my garden better for wildlife this year? It's a no-spray garden. I have a "logpile" (well... sticks), an insect house, long grass areas, leaves left on the ground over winter, a bird feeder, and water sources. I will start sowing cosmos and other pollinator-friendly annuals this weekend. Any other easy changes or things to add? I have been wondering about bird nesting boxes but not sure which would be the most useful. Also, a butyl-lined pond was on the cards but unfortunately my dog would not stay out of it.

What wildlife-friendly changes/additions are you planning?

Posts

  • NormandyLizNormandyLiz Seine Maritime, FrancePosts: 87
    Do you have plants that you can leave seeds on at the end of the season? We don't have bird feeders here but do leave seed heads on various plants for the birds. 

    Something I didn't appreciate until this year, when the wet area was created leaving predominantly mud for a while, was how useful mud can be for wildlife. It was covered with butterflies and other insects, and the swallows occasionally popped by when building their nests. Instead of a pond, would a wet area work anywhere, a rain garden or something?

    My to do list for this year is too long to even start writing it down!

  • WhereAreMySecateursWhereAreMySecateurs LutonPosts: 1,018
    That's fascinating about mud... I never realised that. I mean I have seen sparrows having dry mud baths in the summer, but didn't think of the wet mud... Fortunately my "lawn" is largely a mud bath at the moment.:) 

    Seed heads are something I will consciously plant for, thanks. Just my buddleia really now with them on so can improve there. I don't let roses set hips because of the look of them (ugh... like hundreds of red eyes!), but didn't realise birds liked them, oops.

    I'd love to hear some of your to do list because I keep missing obvious things.
  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 4,771
    You seem to have the top ideas already @WhereAreMySecateurs - sounding great! Water is supposed to be the best addition - even small. 

    I was reading about plants for caterpillars and butterflies/moths and something that hosts many types are stinging nettles! In fact many of the host plants are often thought of as weeds. I have left a ‘wild’ area at the bottom of my garden. Some may say it’s a bit too wild as brambles and bindweed flourish, but there is long grass and wildflowers. I wouldn’t mind a few nettles, if they won’t take over. 

    Trees and native hedges can be helpful, but obviously not cheap or easy. I have some conifers at the end of my garden and although controversial, they host nests and make for great escape areas for the birds. 

    Do you have hedgehog ‘highways’ and maybe a hog house? Hopefully you can create small gaps for the highway which are still dog-proof. 

    Maybe some dead wood/logs to add to your stick pile. 

    The pollinator- friendly plants are a great way of encouraging wildlife. Maybe think of plants which provide nectar across the months, and not just Summer. 

    I feel that I provide most of the key components, so I am surprised how many slugs I have despite birds and hedgehogs! 






    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,560
    I have a long list in my head.  If I wrote it down my husband/under gardener would leave home.  Softly softly does it.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I am intrigued as to why you are starting off the cosmos so early. They germinate so quickly and grow away, I think you may end up with thin, weedy-looking seedlings ready to be planted out long before the weather is warm enough for them to go outside. The slightest suggestion of frost and they will turn up their toes and die. If you keep the seedlings going indoors they could get very leggy and not grow well.

    I have a very unkempt garden with lots of "natural" areas. I do not see a lot of evidence of nature being in my garden, there are deer who call in occasionally and road kill shows there are badgers etc. around, the cat does bring me a variety of little brown furries as presents, and there are lots of birds coming to the feeder, they use the nesting boxes sometimes, dragonflies, butterflies, and zuzzy things call in on the pond so I assume nature is quietly doing its own thing with no more help from me.
    I have a feeling allowing a garden to be still, is a huge draw for wildlife.
    My ex. 's garden is rarely disturbed now, he doesn't go out in it anymore and a chap cuts the lawn every few weeks so a family of foxes has taken it over as their playground. They go into other gardens for food probably, find kids' toys left outside, collect them, take them back to my ex's garden and play with them on the lawn every evening! There is now a pile of children's toys on the lawn.
  • SherwoodArrowSherwoodArrow Nottinghamshire Posts: 196
    Iv been reading these books recently, there are lots of tips about how to encourage or give a helping hand to wildlife.

    The Rewild Your Garden book is very helpful and doesn’t make you feel like everything you already do in the garden is wrong, which is what I feel from some other rewilding books.

    The Planting for Butterflies book tells you about lots of butterflies individually and which plants they eat/live on, so if there is a particular butterfly your trying to attract it tells you what to plant. There is a bee (and I think a moth) book in the same series. 🙂


  • NormandyLizNormandyLiz Seine Maritime, FrancePosts: 87
    That's fascinating about mud... I never realised that. I mean I have seen sparrows having dry mud baths in the summer, but didn't think of the wet mud... Fortunately my "lawn" is largely a mud bath at the moment.:) 

    Seed heads are something I will consciously plant for, thanks. Just my buddleia really now with them on so can improve there. I don't let roses set hips because of the look of them (ugh... like hundreds of red eyes!), but didn't realise birds liked them, oops.

    I'd love to hear some of your to do list because I keep missing obvious things.
    I've just had a google about butterflies and mud, there are various tips about creating a butterfly mud bath that you might find interesting.

    On the seed heads, the ones that surprised me was the flax. They grow a lot of it around here and we are able to get shredded flax, normally sold as horse bedding, for free and I use it as a mulch. Which means we get lots of flax that grows up where I've mulched. It's a very fine little plant but the goldfinches manage to balance and love pecking out the seeds. Teasle is another loved by goldfinches but they can spread if you're not careful. I also leave sunflower heads on but do deadhead the buddleia to stop it spreading into the neighbouring fields. 

    We're in the process of creating a garden pretty well from scratch, based on the ornamental kitchen garden lines, hence the extraordinarily long list of jobs for the year! 3 apple trees going in soon should provide a boost for the bees, and many of the plants will be insect friendly.

    There was a pile of bricks and slates behind an outbuilding that we have left for wildlife and we've made insect hotels with old breeze blocks and different sticks, straw, leaves, etc. but one thing on the list is a log pile.

    The rough grass area is just that at the moment, only a few 'weed' wildflowers such as dandelions, so developing that into more of a wildflower meadow is also on the list, although to be honest I'm not sure we'll get round to it this year, too much to do elsewhere, but we'll see.
  • MarranMarran Posts: 171
    Our plan is to dig/build a hibernaculum .. and the mud patch sounds like a good plan too!
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