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Make a messy garden

Ali Green offers six suggestions for greening
your garden and sharing your sanctuary

Make a messy garden

‘In God’s hand is the life of every living
thing and the breath of every human
being’ Job 12:10


WOULD YOU LIKE TO WELCOME
more wildlife into your garden?
Even the smallest patch of land
can become a refuge for wild plants and
animals – and spring is a good time of year
to start.
1. Sow some wildflower seeds
Butterflies, bees and other insects need
flowers that they can feed from. So plant
some native seeds such as Ox-eye Daisy,
Foxglove, Common Poppy and Cornflower.
By summertime, pollinator insects will be
feasting on the nectar these flowers
produce.
2. Go for no-mow May
It’s amazing to see what plants pop up if
you let your lawn grow through the month
of May. Among the grass you’ll find not
Make a messy
garden
only wildflowers but many sorts of insects
that shelter there, and maybe grass snakes,
frogs and small mammals such as shrews.
3. Provide a pond
Many farm ponds have disappeared from
the countryside, so garden ponds are all
the more important for offering refuge to
amphibians. Frogs and toads need them in
spring for mating and for their spawn to
develop into tadpoles. In summer they will
seek out shady, cool places around ponds
to rest away from the heat.
4. Bring in the birds
Providing a bird table with different kinds
of bird feed is a great way to help native
and migrating wild birds, especially when
other food is scarce. Suet balls are full of
calories to help them through cold weather
and peanuts are rich in protein and fats.
5. Give water
Clean, fresh water is also very important for
birds and other animals. If temperatures
drop below zero, you can help bird baths
and ponds to stay ice-free by floating a
small ball on the water surface to prevent
ice sheets forming. In the summer, drop a
stone into the bird bath so that flying
insects can land and reach drinking water
on days without rain.
6. Let nature be
Allow your garden to be a bit messy.
The natural world isn’t that fond of
straight lines and bare concrete. It
thrives best when left to do its own
thing. What we call ‘weeds’ are actually
wildflowers which can benefit a wide
range of wildlife. So let your lawn grow
in May, encourage wild creatures to come
in, and then take time to enjoy the sights,
sounds and smells of nature flourishing
around you.

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