How a few small tweaks and sticking to some simple rules can make your garden more wildlife friendly.
1. GIVE YOUR CAT A BELL
The natural hunting instincts of cats mean that they can be a threat to garden birds. Make sure your cat wears a collar with a bell, so birds get an early warning that there’s a predator about.
2. PLANTS, PLANTS, PLANTS
A good rule of thumb is that the more plants you grow, the better it is for wildlife, which is a great excuse to get out there and fill your garden with greenery. Grow flowers in among your vegetables, climbers up the walls and fill pots on your patio.
3. CUT OUT THE CHEMICALS
Where possible, avoid using chemicals to kill creepy crawlies or weeds. Pesticides can knock vital layers out of the food chain, and there are often much more constructive ways of working with nature to maintain a healthy garden.
4. STORE UP YOUR WATER
With all the rain we’ve had lately it may seem odd to suggest storing it up to water your plants with, but only a few months ago many of us were in a drought.
Water butts are very environmentally friendly because they collect and store rain water, allowing you to recycle it and give your plants a good drink at the same time.
5. LET HEDGES GROW
The main breeding period for garden birds is between the beginning of March and the end of August, so it’s best to avoid cutting trees or hedges during this time so as not to disturb any nests.
Conifers can provide nesting sites for a variety of species at this time including blackbirds, robins, greenfinches, goldcrests and even larger birds such as sparrowhawks and crows, so real care needs to be taken during any cutting.
Adrian Thomas works for the RSPB and is the author of the book, Gardening for Wildlife.