Healthy, environmentally friendly habitats are areas where wildlife can breed and thrive in safety. They are easy to create in your garden in fact you will want the features anyway. A little prior planning and thought about the wildlife environment can make your feature into a green habitat at little or no cost.
Dry Stone Wall Habitats
- My first garden had a dry stone wall that formed the boundary with the moorland beyond. It was a great feature of sandstone build without any cement or mortar, a labour of love.
- The damp nooks and crannies form hiding places for slugs and snails but also accommodate frogs and toads.
- Mice, spiders and other beneficial insects use a dry stone wall for safety, breeding and a source of food supply. You can even get birds nesting in the larger crevices.
- A micro climate grows around a wall. The stone holds heat and protects from wind to the benefit of butterflies, moths and slow worms.
- Even an arranged pile of rocks and stone can provide some of the benefits but a pukka dry stone wall from local stone is very environmentally friendly.
Green Man Made Habitats
- Nature can be given a bit of help particularly in a built up environment.
- Support birds with feeders, nesting boxes and plants that provide food.
- Create a ‘bug home’ with bricks and twigs to feed and house a variety of insects.
- Keep part of your garden untidy. Leave nature to take its course. Let an old tree trunk decay or pile up some fallen logs.
- Plant insect and seed friendly plants
Woodland Edge Habitats
- Think in terms of a three layered approach to woodland. The top layer is for tall forest trees such as Ash.
- The second layer is tall shrubs and smaller trees like yew, holly and blackthorn. With climbers such as honeysuckle and clematis vitalba you will get evergreen cover and a winter habitat.
- The lower layer is a woodland floor for spring like primroses violets, bluebells and wild garlic.
- Each tier attracts its own abundant array of wildlife.
- Hedges beat walls and fences in to a ‘cocked hat’ when it comes to being green.
- They provide safe corridors for birds and small mammals to pass through from one area to another.
- Mixed native hedging plants will provide food, nesting and shelter for many creatures.
- Hornbeam, beech, privet and yew all can be clipped to make a formal hedge whilst still maintaining the wildlife benefits.
- Berberis, dogwoods, hazel, spindle holly and dog roses are all worth considering for a less formal hedgerow.
- Ponds are a great boon to creating a green habitat
- Bog gardens may be suitable if you have a source of running water to keep the soil in good moist condition.
- Large expanses of wetland area to attract migrating birds are beyond the scale and scope of most gardens.
Compost Heap as a Habitat
- Make your compost heap one of the green habitats.It contains more life than you can believe.
- Worms and microbes need living accommodation and where can be better than in good compost.
- Turn the heap if you want to discourage rats from visiting to eat the kitchen refuse and take advantage of the warmth. They are one creature I wish to discourage.