Promoting sustainable living within the local community

Grow a variety of flowers to attract bees and butterflies - early and late flowering plants provide nectar for insects at critical times. Single petal varieties, especially annuals, will be more useful to insects seeking pollen & nectar than multi petal hybrids. Leave tidying of borders and shrubs until late winter/early spring to maintain cover and retain seeds and fruit for birds and small mammals throughout winter. Create homes for a variety of invertebrates by making a log pile, or build a ‘bug hotel’ using old pallets or cast off untreated timber, bamboo canes, old bricks etc. Solitary bees will find a home in a bundle of canes hung in a sheltered spot. More simply, a plant pot filled with dead leaves and turned upside down, or flat stones placed around the garden will give mini beasts places to hide!

Wildlife Friendly Gardening

Any garden, big or small, can be home to a variety of wildlife. In general, the key is to provide as many habitats as possible, with plenty of shelter, foraging opportunities, and if you can, some water. Lawns are good for Blackbirds and Starlings that search for leatherjackets in short grass; if you avoid use of weedkiller & artificial fertiliser you will allow clover and other flowering species to provide foraging for bees, and seeds for finches.

A patch of long grass will offer habitat for beetles and overwintering caterpillars. If you can host a nettle patch, you are providing a larval food plant for Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies. Create shelter by growing climbers against walls (ivy is great) so that birds may find roosting and breeding sites; berry bearing shrubs will also provide food. If you have room, a native mixed hedge will sustain many different species.