How to Make Your Garden Wildlife Friendly
Spring and summer are usually the time of year when we really turn our attention to our gardens. The better weather offers the chance of a fresh start, and this can mean encouraging other forms of nature other than just the new bulbs and flowers you might want to plant.
As garden mulch suppliers with many customers in Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire as well as Cambridgeshire, at Madingley Mulch we are interested in encouraging wildlife into your garden. Here we look at some of the best ways to make your garden attractive to everything from butterflies and bees to hedgehogs.
Plant Pollen-Rich Flowers
If you want to see plenty of bees and butterflies flying around, then choose the right sort of plants which will provide plenty of pollen for as long as possible. These include crocus and mahonia in spring and later-flowering ivy in the autumn. This has another beneficial effect, as pollinators such as bees and butterflies play a vital role in the eco-system and are essential to seed and fruit production.
Keep Part of Your Garden Wild
A wild area of the garden could be of great benefit to all sorts of wildlife. Hedgehogs like to build their nests from old wood, fallen leaves and other dead vegetation. Stag and bark beetles and their grubs, and many species of fungi, also thrive in such areas.
Letting your lawn grow longer has its advantages too, as taller grass can help the eco-system thrive. A patch of longer grass can provide shelter for small mammals such as wood mice, voles and shrews, and food for some butterfly caterpillars, while some creatures lay their eggs in it.
Enrich Soil Naturally
Enriching soil with natural soil conditioners and compost, can help to make your garden wildlife friendly and encourage beneficial insects. Compost is valuable for keeping your soil healthy, and benefits everything living in it and growing on it. If you have space, a compost heap in your garden is also a good idea, and not just because it can shelter many small creatures and some larger ones like slowworms and grass snakes.
Garden mulch suppliers Madingley Mulch stock soil conditioners including our own products Denise’s Delight, a blend including Black Fen soil and well-rotted horse manure, and Tony’s Tonic, a compost made from wood shavings, again with well-rotted manure. We also supply spent mushroom compost and other quality composts and mulches, offering delivery of bulk bags in Cambridgeshire, Essex and across East Anglia.
Provide Lots of Water…
If you want more wildlife in your garden, then leaving out some water is a good way to encourage birds. Water is important in summer as well as during the colder months. Hedgehogs, too, benefit from a bowl of water – they are lactose intolerant so milk is not a good idea. They also drink a lot overnight so, if you have a friendly hedgehog in the neighbourhood, don’t forget to top the water bowl up before you go to bed.
As well as drinking water, you could also build a pond to encourage creatures such as newts or frogs. It need not be that deep or big and for a wildlife garden it is best to resist putting in fish, as they could get eaten by other predators. It’s advisable to make sure it has one sloping edge, so the creatures can get in and out without too much trouble.
…and Plenty of Food
In the case of hedgehogs, boiled eggs, chopped nuts and cooked potatoes can supplement their usual diet. Bread, like milk, is not suitable for their metabolisms.
The best foods for birds can range from kitchen scraps and fat balls to peanuts and sunflower hearts to bespoke seed mixtures.
If you want to go a stage further and put up a nesting box, then they should be two to four metres high for tits, sparrows or starlings and ideally fixed to a tree or wall. For smaller birds like robins and wrens, the boxes should be lower down and preferably hidden in vegetation. A box will need cleaning out once a year, usually in autumn, once any birds have stopped using it, as can harbour parasites which will reduce any new chicks’ chances of survival the following year.
Madingley Mulch sells a wide range of gardening supplies, including mulches, soil conditioners and topsoil, which can help you create a wildlife-friendly garden. All our orders can be delivered free to destinations within 15 miles of our base on the edge of Cambridge, and there is a standard £20 charge for all destinations within 24.5 miles. We run regular deliveries to Newmarket, Ely and many other local towns and villages. Follow the link above to contact our friendly, knowledgeable staff, who will be happy to offer advice.
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