How wildlife friendly is your garden?

How wildlife friendly is your garden?
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A recent survey has found that 60 per cent of homeowners make an effort to encourage minibeasts into their garden. Which is great news for all the millions of little creatures looking for a home around Britain!

The study from Alfresia.co.uk found a third of us Brits have invested in things that conserve and welcome in animals, such as bird feeders, bird nest boxes and insect houses.

Meanwhile, 7 per cent of those surveyed confessed to keeping chickens, whilst 4 per cent currently keep bees in their outdoor space. Over half (56 per cent) leave food for feathered visitors, whilst 14 per cent admit to monitoring the types and species of bird that visit their gardens.

What's more, 57 per cent confessed to being concerned about the reported decline in the bee population, suggesting many of us are looking to do our bit to prevent similar reductions in numbers of other species.

And it's those aged 55-64 who are making the most effort to conserve and promote wildlife, followed surprisingly by the 25-34 age group, as gardening and outdoor pursuits continue to see a resurgence among younger people.

As for where in the country it's best to be a creature in search of a home, it turns out Oxford residents (73 per cent) and Bristol residents (69 per cent) are currently leading the way in sustaining and safeguarding wildlife.

So just what can you do if you want to attract more animals to your garden and make your outdoor space a haven for wildlife?

  •  Creating a pond or bog garden provides a habitat for amphibians to live, as well as a place for birds to bathe and drink
  • Hedgerows supply cover for small garden mammals, such as hedgehogs, squirrels, and even mice so add some into your space
  • Composting garden waste, cuttings and food waste in a corner of the garden not only provides a source of nutrient rich compost, but also promotes numbers of worms, woodlouse and millipedes. These compost heap minibeasts will help aerate soil and break down waste into nutrients suitable for plants
  • Areas of long grass give cover to insects and provide a safe place for wildlife such as butterflies and dragonflies to lay eggs so think about leaving a bit of your lawn to grow and be extra careful if you get the lawn mower out
  • Pollen-rich and scented flowers attract bees and butterflies to garden spaces, which in turn pollinate plants and flowers
  • Rock gardens and piles of logs give shelter to insects and animals of all types
  • Cutting back on chemicals and pesticides will boosts wildlife numbers as insects return and bring with it a full food chain of critters and creatures
  • Bird boxes will attract nesting birds and bats as long as they are mounted in a secluded and quite section of the garden. Leaving a variety of food and seeds for feathered friends with encourage a mixture of wild bird species
  • Adding trees or large shrubs to borders gives birds a place to create a nest of their own from debris and sticks from the outdoors

There's more gardening ideas in every issue of Yours