Gardening for Wildlife

Book Cover

This book is a joint publication between RHS and the Wildlife Trusts and covers a surprising array of subjects in an easy to follow manner. I have picked up some quick tips to put on my Twitter feed.

The Wildlife Trusts

  • With 765,000 members The Wildlife Trusts are the largest UK voluntary organisation dedicated to conserving the full range of the UK’s habitats and species, whether they be in the countryside, in cities or at sea.
  • Wildlife Trusts manage 2,256 nature reserves covering more than 90,000 hectares. They stand up for wildlife, inspire people about the natural world and foster sustainable living.
  • Wildlife gardening is much more than just making friends with the local birds, hedgehogs and dragonflies. It’s a way of connecting to the whole web of life. Years ago the countryside was rich in wild plants and animals but today that’s no longer true. Many of the creatures that thrive in gardens – for example frogs, goldfinches and sparrows are having a hard time in their old haunts.
  • Gardeners can make a real difference. Key garden features are trees and hedges, dead wood, water, and a real variety of plant shapes and sizes. Once we provide these simple needs, we can see gardens not just as our outdoor rooms, but as an interconnected network of green patches that together amount to a very special nature reserve whether in the heart of the metropolis, or within the wider countryside.

Tips for Wildlife Gardening

‘Chris Beardshaw gave the Wildlife Trust three tips for wildlife gardeners:
1. Have a flower in flower every day of the year.
As long as it is a nectar deliverer it will help give you a base level of invertebrates. And it warms the hearts of gardeners at the same time.
2. Get some water into the garden in some shape or form.
This is especially good if you want to encourage children into wildlife gardening. It doesn’t have to be elaborate and it doesn’t have to be unsafe – it can be as simple a puddle somewhere on the patio – but wildlife will be drawn to it and so will children.
3. On climate change gardening the most important thing to do is not panic.
Plant species that enjoy the conditions in your garden and then they will be adept at adapting to changes including prolonged weather like rain or frost.

Gardeners tips would add do not be over tidy leave some area relatively undisturbed to allow nature to take it’s course.

Ivy Helps Wild Life


English Ivy is called Hedera Helix and it is a great help to wildlife in your garden. It is an evergreen, versatile and long lived plant that is easy to cultivate. The hand shaped leaves become more rounded as the Ivy matures and bursts into white flower.

Ivy and Wildlife

  • If grown as ground cover Ivy provides a snug area under its leaves in winter to help birds and woodland creatures to forage during cold spells.
  • Grown up a wall or tree Ivy provides nesting and hibernation sites for birds, insects and butterflies. It is also a place to hide or roost.
  • Flowers provide pollen and nectar but the variegated forms are slower to flower.
  • After the flowers the Ivy produces berries as food for wildlife through winter and seeds for procreation.


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