Wildlife gardens seem to have a bad reputation and often consist of a tangled mess of weeds or a layout in the shape of butterfly wings. However, it doesn’t have to be like that and gardens can be designed to work as practical and beautiful spaces for people and can still be great for wildlife too.
Award winning garden designer Selina Botham shares her top tips for creating a successful ‘designer wildlife garden’:-
1. Design a garden that you will like and enjoy being in. Don’t worry if you like a well-structured space - the bees don’t mind about the layout or design, they just want plenty to eat and somewhere to rest.
2. Preserve mature trees and shrubs and even plant some more to give a variety of blossom and berries. Something in flower in each season is a great bonus for wildlife and you too.
3. Be relaxed about your lawn. I know this is hard for many men, but if you have a ‘chemical free’ lawn, you don’t need to worry about children playing on it and you get the added benefit of some very pretty wildflowers and of course lots of happy insects and birds.
4. Design in meadow areas. Long grass is beautiful and adds romantic texture in the garden, its also great for wildlife, especially if you leave it long in the winter too.
5. Brighten your garden with flowers that provide nectar. This is easy as most flowers produce nectar, so don’t worry about choosing only those with special labels; just avoid doubles and heavily inbred annual bedding plants. (Annual bedding, whilst pretty, only lasts a few months so it’s much better to buy perennials that last several years.)
6. Create a pond or have a birdbath or a natural water feature. Keep the water clean by using oxygenation plants rather than chemicals. Even a formal water feature can be made wildlife friendly by adding a shelf with marginal plants or a bridge to provide an entrance and exit point.
7. Use cut logs, either set into the ground as a sculpture or stacked under a bench as a feature in their own right. I work with asculptor to create natural works of art that are beautiful and also useful for wildlife.
8. Have a compost heap/messy space where you can pile leaves and garden waste. This makes life easier for you and benefits the environment too.
If you would like to improve and make the best of your garden and need some professional help contact Selina Botham for an initial garden consultation on 07894 553 202 or see her web site for further ideas www.designsforallseasons.co.uk