Helping wildlife thrive

As more of the countryside disappears under new roads and house building schemes or is used for intensive crop production, gardens have become ever more important as a safe sanctuary for wildlife.

One garden might seem insignificant in preventing the decline of bees, a certain species of butterfly or helping birds to survive, but add it to the thousands of other gardens patch-worked across Britain, and it adds up to a big acreage with a huge impact.

There’s a lot of rubbish talked about wildlife-friendly gardens, and many people worry that it means having a boring, untidy garden. Nothing could be further from the truth; many of our native plants are very beautiful, like the Guelder Rose or the Sea Buckthorn, which are worth a place in any garden. Making a wildlife garden doesn’t mean that you can’t grow non-native plants either; many, like Buddleia are a real boon for wildlife and look very beautiful too.

It’s all about making small changes. Choosing a native hedge like Beech, Yew, Hawthorn or Hornbeam for example – which in my opinion are the best hedges anyway – will make a big difference. Hawthorn makes a terrific country garden hedge, which even when kept clipped will provide pollen for insects, fruit for birds and small mammals and shelter and nesting sites too. If you’re choosing a tree, what could be more handsome - or attractive to wildlife - than Holly, Rowan, Silver Birch or a Crab Apple?

You’ll find lots of tips about the best trees and shrubs for wildlife on the website - and remember that we’re always here to give advice and help with your queries to make a better garden.