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Making a wildlife garden

Making a Garden ‘Wildlife Friendly’ by leaving Tree Stumps, log piles and Ivy

If you like gardening, or even if you are a complete garden novice, why not take part in the RSPB’s latest campaign called Homes For Nature? The idea is to create space and habitat for native species of plants and animals in UK domestic gardens.

We can all make some small changes to our outside space to encourage wildlife and native plants, and the funny thing is that it is easier to garden native plants than it is to care for exotic and nursery-bred plants.

The Homes for Nature initiative has been launched by the RSPB following a study in May this year, called the State of Nature report, which revealed that 60% of British Native Species are in decline. They would like us to create garden ponds, put up nesting boxes for birds and roosting boxes for bats, and leaving areas of the garden to go wild in order to allow native plants to colonise areas, which will in turn provide habitat for native insects, butterflies and birds.

“Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines,” said the RSPB chief executive, Mike Clarke. “Gardens provide a valuable lifeline for species like starlings, toads, hedgehogs and butterflies, which are struggling to find homes in the wider countryside.”

The State of Nature report found that 1 in 3 species has declined to 50% of its original level within the last fifty years. Worryingly 1 in 10 is at risk of extinction. We tend to think of large African animals when we think of extinction and not our garden toads. While the situation is serious, there are so many gardens and gardeners in the UK that small changes made by each of you can have make massive inroads into solving the problem.

“Everyone has a part to play and it is in all of our interests to put wildlife back on the map,” said Paul Wilkinson, head of living landscape for the Wildlife Trusts, which contributed to the State of Nature report. “Wildlife gardening can make a surprisingly big difference which is why we have been working on it for so long up and down the UK, and in partnership with Royal Horticultural Society. The more hands to the pump, the better; the more people who are engaged, the greater the potential benefit for wildlife.”

We would love to hear from you if you are redesigning your garden with wildlife in mind, or if you are planning to make some small changes to ensure our native species have a home in your garden. Share your stories with us here by leaving comments (top right) or by commenting on Twitter @diydoctor or on DIY Doctor’s Facebook page. If you have photos to share that would be fantastic too, we are always happy to pass on your thoughts and ideas to get wildlife thriving in our gardens. Mike Edwards of DIY Doctor recalls how Hedgehogs were enticed into their garden in Somerset by providing an area with a log pile, tree stump and ivy growth. The hedgehogs felt at home enough to breed and one of the hoglets is pictured below.

Baby Hedgehog

Baby Hedgehog rooting for insects in bark chippings

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