There are plenty of ways to make your garden wildlife friendly, but by far the most beneficial is actually the simplest of all – doing nothing.
By letting your garden grow without interference, you will give insect-friendly weeds the chance to flourish, and grasses the chance to go to seed, providing birds and small mammals with food for themselves and their young.
I was really surprised to read this on the BBC website. It reinforces a myth I bump into regularly. Making you garden wildlife friendly is categorically NOT done by doing nothing. Total neglect will result in less plant and habitat diversity than you can create. People often don’t realize that some of our richest habitats are managed. Wildflower meadows, for example, are not natural. If you leave a wildflower meadow area it will become less and less wildlife friendly as it is likely to revert to scrub and grass/dock/creeping thistle. Scrub and grass/dock/creeping thistle have their own biodiversity value, of course, but it’s less than a flower rich diverse meadow.
Making your garden wildlife friendly by doing nothing is a great excuse for non-gardeners, who can just explain away the biohazard outside the back door as a “wildlife friendly garden”. Weeds, nettles, brambles, fallen tree limbs and choked ponds all have value for wildlife, of course, but promoting that look is going to put serious gardeners off the whole idea.
What would my 5 top tips be to make your garden wildlife friendly? Hmm – that’s tricky. How about:
1. Have a wildlife friendly pond
2. Plant a good variety of the right plants – including native wildflowers – for pollinators
3. Don’t use pesticides/slug pellets etc.
4. Don’t disturb your compost heap any more than you have to
5. Don’t deadhead
Jenny Steel is much better qualified to say; have a look at her top ten tips. Making your garden wildlife friendly by doing nothing isn’t one of them!