Eco-Living Magazine

Wildlife Friendly Gardening for Wild About Gardens Week 2014

Posted on the 18 September 2014 by Dorsetenergized @dorsetenergized

Bee on Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'

I was going to blog this week about how my partner Stu and I are planning on applying for the Dorset Wildlife’s Trust’s Wildlife Friendly Garden Award Scheme, and talk a bit about how now is a good time to think about wildlife friendly gardening when we are tackling our gardens this Autumn for the Winter, when I discovered that it is actually Wild About Gardens Week!

Wild About Gardens Week

According to Wild About Gardens, over the past 50 years we’ve seen declines in two thirds of our plant and animal species, so Wild About Gardens is a joint initiative by the RHS and The Wildlife Trusts to encourage people to support local biodiversity in their gardens.

The massive decline in the UK’s animal and plant species is for a range of reasons including loss of habitat from housing developments and farming. Many of our common garden species – hedgehogs, house sparrows, starlings and common frogs, for example – are becoming much less common. This is where gardeners can make a difference, by making their own gardens and the green spaces in their communities more wildlife friendly.

Community Grass Free Lawn Event in Dorset

Sat 20th September at Poundbury Garden Centre, Dorchester (9am – 6pm)

Here in Dorset, you help to create a Grass Free Lawn of low-growing flowering plants to be installed in the Dorchester Borough Gardens on Easter Monday next year 2015.

Pop along to the Poundbury Garden Centre to collect your free seed trays, peat-free compost and seeds, plant each different species in a separate seed tray, look after them at home and bring them along to the Borough Gardens for the Grand Planting Day next year.

Or find out if there is a Wild About Gardens Week event near you at www.wildaboutgardensweek.org.uk

Provide a sanctuary for wildlife this Winter

From hedgehogs and butterflies to birds and bats; it’s time to join forces and do something to help wildlife in your garden! For example, stems and seedheads provide habitats in your garden border so go easy on cutting back (which means less work for us too, hooray!).

Watch some ideas on how to encourage beneficial wildlife to stay in your garden through the coldest months:

Find out lots more about what you can do in your own garden at www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk and make sure you visit The RHS and The Wildlife Trusts for more tips on how you can make a difference this autumn.

The Wildlife Friendly Garden Award Scheme

Creating a wildlife-friendly garden (at any time of the year) makes a valuable contribution towards conserving your local wildlife and can form a vital patchwork linking urban areas with the wider countryside.

The Wildlife Trusts say that garden acreage is at least five times that of all the nature reserves and national parks put together. Climate change is also a real threat for our wildlife and having safe havens with food and water all year round could help some of our more vulnerable species survive.

Here’s the current criteria for the Dorset Wildlife’s Trust’s Wildlife Friendly Garden Award Scheme:

You need to send photographic evidence to show you have five or more from the list below, to include at least one from each column A, B and C to be eligible for a plaque saying you have a ‘Wildlife Friendly Garden’.

A: HABITATS

  • Wildlife Pond
  • Bog or permanently wet area
  • Bird Bath
  • Bird Box
  • Bat Box

B: PLANTING

  • Wild flower Meadow
  • Climbing plants/Trellises suitable for nesting and feeding
  • Nectar rich flower border and bushes
  • Mixed Native Hedge
  • Mature Native Tree

C: MANAGEMENT

  • Log pile and/or substantial decaying tree stump
  • Compost Heap
  • Long Grass area
  • No-go area
  • Slug pellet free

Stu and I have discovered we already more than qualify for the plaque, basically because we quite like wild gardens and are so busy working from home as Designers we don’t spend a huge amount of time gardening to be honest, although it is very grounding and satisfying when we do!

Apart from feeding the birds (and squirrels!) every day, making sure water trays are full for our frogs and resident hedgehogs, having a compost heath which our slow worms and smaller worms love, some bay trees which our lovely resident blackbird family sleep in, some runner beans that the slugs and snails love (we would NEVER dream of using slug pellets which can kill hedgehogs) and a couple of log piles left over from last time we gardened, we’d also like to actively create even more space for nature… so watch this space!!!

Find out more on www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-friendly-gardens-scheme.html and I’ll update you on if and when we get our plaque, hopefully soon!

Also check out Friends of the Earth’s 4 steps to a beautiful Bee World as we all know by now that its vital we have plants to feed the bees, as they are crucial to our whole ecosystem. Until next time… : )


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