So I’ve been thinking a lot recently about nature gardening and how we can make our gardens little havens of nature and loveliness. I love spring, so I always get a head start and buy loads of seeds and do loads of stuff and THEN it snows – oops!
So here are my top 5 things to do for Nature in your Garden
1. BUG HOTEL – this is my favourite thing to do because it’s easy, it’s fun to create with the kids, you can add to it anytime, it looks cool and it’s generally fab. Search for pictures online, but essentially you can make a really easy basic bug hotel by stacking up some old logs or sticks, drilling holes in larger, harder pieces of wood and stacking bricks or stones.
2. FLOWERS – As many as possible, flowering over as many days as possible! It’s especially important to get early flowering plants in as a vital first source of food for emerging bees. Don’t pull up dandelions or daisies, they’re some of the most reliable ones and they’re really pretty too.
3. BIRD FEEDERS – I love a bird feeder! Especially if you can hang some close to your windows so you can spot the birds while you eat breakfast or even watch TV. Simple fat balls are cheap to buy in bulk, can be made at home as an activity with the kids and are an excellent food source for birds. It may take a while for them to start coming, but once they know where the food is they’ll keep coming back so please don’t forget about them as they will rely on you.
4. PONDS – a tough one with small children, but ponds are so vital to many types of wildlife and great fun too! A raised pond is safer, perhaps in a fenced off area if possible. There are many affordable ways to build a pony, like bolting railway sleepers together and then lining with pond liner. Make sure you put in a ramp / stack up rocks or bricks to create a shallow end so critters can get in and out. Even a really shallow pond will become a place full of activity with birds visiting to drink and bath, frogs and insects. To encourage frogs bring some frogspawn home from another pond and hope they hatch out in yours – frogs will return to the pond they were born in every year.
5. NO MOW – Long grass is SO good for encouraging biodiversity and helps out all sorts of critters! However, we wanted to mow our grass so our children could play and we could spot the dog poop, so our compromise has been long verges. We let around 12-24 inches of grass grow around the edge of the garden, it looks lovely, means we don’t have to do any awkward edging and is brilliant for wildlife – winner! We love it so much we also let the verges of our Glamping site grow too, and have been popping wildflowers in amongst the verges wherever we can, I’m looking forward to seeing the improvements in our biodiversity survey this summer!
So there’s just a few ideas for you to help encourage nature in your garden. Even if you only have a tiny patch, or just a window box, you can do your bit by planting edible things just as herbs which you can use and the insects will also benefit from. Bird feeding stations can hang or attach just outside an upstairs window, and you can include a bowl of water for washing/drinking too.