6 Ways to Create a Wildlife Garden

Who doesn’t enjoy seeing butterflies and bees in the garden? There has been a decline in the UK’S wildlife populations in recent decades, with studies stating a decrease of up to 60%, but there are ways to combat this issue in our very own gardens.

With these simple steps, it couldn’t be easier making your outdoor space attractive to pollinators, birds and mammals. Here are our easy tips for creating a wildlife haven in your garden.

1. Choose the Right Flowers

Flowers provide an excellent source of pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies, moths, and other insects.  Here’s just a small selection of our favourite nectar-rich summer blooms to attract an array of pollinators.

Centranthus ruber coccineus

A cluster-forming perennial. This easy to grow plant blooms with stunning tiny pink flowers that are adored by butterflies and bees. Great for borders.

Echinacea ‘Golden Skipper

A cheery sight for summer. These golden yellow flowers are a beacon of joy for pollinators. They also make perfect cut flowers for the home!

Lavender ‘Munstead’

A versatile, dwarf shrub. These fragrant Lavender bushes can be enjoyed en-masse as ground cover or as container centrepieces. A well-loved plant by pollinators.

Echinacea ‘Milkshake

Otherwise known as Coneflowers, Echinacea are fantastic perennials. This creamy white variety blooms with amazing pom pom-like double flowers. Irresistible to butterflies.

Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’

An award-winning summer favourite. These cheery daisy-like flowers are a must-have for any wildlife garden. Great for borders and pots.

2. Plant Bird-Friendly Shrubs

Some shrubs can provide a diversity of food and shelter that will certainly attract a range of birds, such as greenfinches. Plant these wildlife-friendly shrubs and watch as the number of feathered visitors in your garden will grow each year.

Pyracantha ‘Golden Charmer’

A mesmerising shrub. With nectar-rich flowers in the spring and golden berries in the autumn, ‘Golden Charmer’ is a haven for a myriad of wildlife.

Chokeberry

A versatile fruiting shrub. With clusters of fragrant Spring blooms followed by blackberry clusters in the Autumn, this shrub provides fantastic multi-seasonal interest.

Beautyberry

Otherwise known as Callicarpa, this eye-catching shrub provides endless interest with their lilac summer flowers followed by vibrant metallic-like berries in the autumn. A valuable food source for birds.

Partridge Berry

Also known as Checkerberry, this dwarf, evergreen shrub is perfect for borders or containers. Their bright pink-red berries are perfect for attracting birds to the garden.

3. Create a Space for Shelter

A pristine lawn may look pretty but they do nothing for nature. Add a pile of old rocks, bricks, and tiles in a quiet corner of your garden to provide a sanctuary for many species of insects and small mammals and encourage biodiversity.

4. Set up Bird Feeders

No matter what season we’re in, a bird seed feeder is such a quick and easy way to help your local feathered friends. If you’re feeling crafty, you can build your own from scratch. Try upcycling food tins or plastic bottles (a great activity for kids!), then pile on a variety of food (peanuts, seeds or fat balls) to give your gardens a boost of life.

5. Add a Water Feature

Liven up any dull space in the garden with a pond. A small, ornamental pond is easy to build yourself and is a great way to attract a variety of wildlife creatures to the garden. If you don’t have the space to build a pond, large pots or upturned bins work too!

6. Start Composting

Not only is composting a great way to lower your household waste, it is also an excellent source of food for wildlife! The community of minibeasts who live among the waste help the decaying process, and in turn, these beasts are a delicious food source for hedgehogs and other animals.

What can i compost?

  • Grass cuttings and dead leaves

Pollinators Month – Top 10 Wildlife Shrubs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#NationalPollinatorsMonth in June encourages the planting pollinator-friendly gardens with pollen and nectar-producing plants. When these gardens bloom, they attract bees, birds, bats, and other natural pollinators.

Woody shrubs provide food, shelter and breeding spaces for our wildlife. Nesting birds and hibernating insects make their homes in them and insects like butterflies use them as natural windbreaks. We have some great recommendations for shrubs that can make great habitats for wildlife in your garden.

Pyracantha

Pyracantha Orange Glow

Winning the RHS Garden Merit Award, Orange Glow is a sturdy evergreen shrub that produces spring blossoms and bright orange berries in the summer. This shrub provides nesting for birds and an abundant source of pollen and food for bees.

 

Viburnum

Viburnum Opulus Roseum (Snowball Tree)

This vigorous deciduous shrub is smothered with large, fragrant, pompom-like clusters of white or pale green tinted flowers every May and June. Purple foliage appears autumn when vibrant red berries, which provide an excellent food source for the birds.

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle Belgica

A true ‘wildlife hotel’. Bring a profusion of vibrant colour to the summer garden with the Honeysuckle plant. The sweet, heady scent carried on a warm summer breeze is one of the most delightful experiences of the season, and the scent is strongest at night, which attracts pollinating moths.

Buddleia

Buddleia Empire Blue

A must for wildlife lovers. Also known as the ‘Butterfly Bush’, this Buddleia’s beautiful cool violet-blue blooms produce a lovely honey fragrance that is guaranteed to attract masses of butterflies and bees.

Weigela

Weigela Pink Poppet

Awarded the RHS ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ Award, this fantastic dwarf-growing shrub is certainly a wildlife haven. Weigela Pink Poppet is a long flowering variety that will attract a range of pollinators, from bees, butterflies and other nectar loving insects.

Sarcococca

Sarcococca hookeriana humilis

This variety produces small white flowers renowned for their vanilla aroma. After flowering, this compact and hardy shrub will also yield an abundance of shiny black berries that birds love, making it the perfect plant for a winter wildlife garden.

Erysimum

Erysimum Constant Cheer

As the name ‘Constant Cheer’ suggests, this exquisite hardy perennial produces long lasting prolific orange red flowers that mature to purple. This creates an amazing multi-coloured flowering feature plant that is highly attractive to bees, butterflies and other insects.

 

Clethra

Clethra Ruby Spice

Winner of the RHS Garden Merit Award for their reliable performance, stability of colour and form and good resistance to pests and diseases. This fantastic shrub is perfect for attracting bees into the garden, through their heady fragrance.

Syringa

Syringa meyeri Palibin

This upright deciduous shrub produces dense clusters of sweetly fragrant, light pink and white panicles over attractive heart-shaped foliage from late spring into early summer. When in bloom, the gorgeous flowers will bring butterflies to your garden.

Gaura

Gaura Whirling Butterflies

The ideal border perennial with an abundance of star shaped flowers. Gaura Whirling Butterflies pretty free-flowering white flower spikes, which resemble a fluttering butterfly, and also are handy for attracting beneficial insects to the garden, such as bees.

 

Video Tutorials

Buddleia:

  • When planting for nectar, avoid double flowers or sterile varieties that limit the feeding opportunities for insects.
  • Select suitable plants for your garden’s conditions.

Complete Guide: How to Plant Buddleia

Looking for advice on how to plant Buddleia this spring? Through this informative guide, we will share all our best knowledge and tips on the planting, arrangement and aftercare for your Buddleia shrubs. When it is covered in butterflies, no other garden plant brings so much pleasure on a summer’s day!

Buddleia, also known as Butterfly Bush, is one of Britain’s most popular summer flowering shrubs. Buddleia comes from Asia and there are more than 100 species that have spread from northern India, China and South Africa to Central and South America, largely after being introduced by the great plant hunters around the beginning of the 20th century.

Planting

Buddleia are superb additions to the garden for attracting wildlife with butterflies and bees being big fans of this shrub. Known for their burst of colour and their distinct tubular fragrant flowers, this vigorous, deciduous shrub is the perfect choice for summer blooms. Here are our guides to planting out in the garden and in containers for easy planting this spring.

In the Garden

Great for long-term borders/rockeries. They perform best when planted in full sun (or at least in partial shade) and in fertile, well-drained soil. Dependent on the variety, plant around 5 to 10 feet apart for a gorgeous display. Plant Buddleia in Spring or in Autumn before the first frosts and water thoroughly after planting.

Buddleia Mixed (Hardy)

Tips

  • When planting, loosen the soil and mix in compost and dig a hole twice the diameter of the plant container.
  • They will not perform well if grown in soil that tends to retain a lot of water in the winter.
  • Do not plant under trees.

In Containers

Use a pot deep enough to contain the roots and heavy enough to weigh the plant down. Make sure the pot has a good amount of drainage holes to allow the roots to breathe. Place the pot in full sunlight and water regularly. Cut the plant back around 10-12 inches in late winter or early spring.

Our Tips

  • Whisky Barrels make great planters
  • Avoid garden soil which becomes heavy/compact in containers.
  • Dwarf varieties like our Minature Collection are the best choice for pots and containers.

Video Tutorial

In this gardening tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates how to plant Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) for summer flowering and shares his tips and tricks for getting the best results out of these beautiful shrubs.

Aftercare

  • When in bloom, you can snip their stems for honey scented cut flower bouquets.
  • Buddleia can be pruned hard after flowering, and you should cut shoots back to strong buds/younger growth.
  • We recommend reducing plants by half in Autumn when they are grown in windy positions.
  • Removing the dead blooms and watering the plants in very dry conditions will bring butterflies flocking to your Buddleia plants.
  • You can take softwood cutting in late spring just as the stems begin to harden up a little.

Our Top Picks

Flower Power

This magical hybrid showcases a mix between the usual blue-purple varieties along with a yellow flowered species. This plant’s gorgeous spikes of flowers blend perfectly from purple to orange for a sensational display of multi-coloured shades and sweet scent to radiate your summer garden.

Buddleia White Swan

The stunning fragrant white flowers are displayed on strong arching branches that are amazing for attracting wildlife in to the garden. Ideal for brightening your summer gardens in patio pots and containers.

 

 

Buddleia Purple Lion

Purple Lion is a stunning, fragrant  dwarf variety of Buddleia. This compact plant bears large purple flower spikes along with attractive silver-green foliage making Purple Lion the perfect long term addition to borders/rockeries and patio pots.

 

 

Companion Plants

Lantanas

The green foliage of Lantanas are topped with clusters of tiny, vibrant little flowers that are superb plants for attracting birds, butterflies and bees to the garden, making them a perfect pollinator companion for Buddleias.

Lantana Esperanta White

This variety is the perfect colour complimenting partner for white and purple Buddleias. These snow white, compactly formed flowers with bright yellow centers are an ideal plant for filling your landscape as ground cover or in containers to bring the wildlife swarming to your beautiful pollinator friendly garden.

Lantana Esperanta Yellow

The cheerful sunny yellow blooms of this Lantana variety are bound to become a showstopper in your garden when planted alongside purple Buddleia for a stunning contrast of colour.

 

 

Asters

A border of Asters creates a truly unforgettable spectacle. Combine with Buddleia for a truly delightful show of colour. They are bound to liven up your garden as Asters are great pollinator attracting plants with their bright colours and nectar rich, wide open blooms.

Aster Alpinus Dark Beauty

These vibrant violet blue, daisy-like flowers with their sunny yellow centers are the perfect partner to a white or purple Buddleia for a bold cluster of vibrant colour to the summer garden.

 

 

 

Aster Alpinus Pinkie

This vivid pink variety of these tough, sun-loving perennial plants are a great easy to grow pairing with Buddleia. Their cheerful ornamental cluster of flowers will certainly bring a pop of colour to summer rock gardens, borders and pots.

 

Click here to view our full range of Buddleia

7 Ways to Help Wildlife in your Garden

For many people, wildlife is a welcome addition to the garden, bringing a cheerful breath of life and character to your very own backyard.

It is especially vital at this time of year, in the cold frosty months, to keep supporting your local wildlife with the space you have. Taking just a little time out of your day to make some easy changes in your garden can attract a flurry of wildlife and help do your bit for the environment.

Here are seven easy ways to make it happen;

  1. Leave a snack

Food can be scarce for animals during the winter, so this time of year is the perfect time to begin attracting wildlife to your garden. Even something as simple as adding a bird feed or scattering monkey nuts on the lawn can easily attract various wildlife to your garden. A bird table is a fantastic way of enticing birds into a specific area of the garden.

  1. Choose Shrubs for shelter and food

If you have the space grow trees and big shrubs. By devoting even the smallest part of your garden to attracting wildlife you can turn it into a paradise for beneficial birds, mammals and insects.

Birds are attracted to areas where they find both food and shelter. A good way of doing so in the autumn/winter is by planting up shrubs and trees which produce berries, such as Ilex (Holly), Pyracantha or Gaultheria. Not only will they produce valuable food but they also produce some much needed ornamental value in the Winter months.

Shop Shrubs Now

  1. Choose nectar-rich flowers

Bees and butterflies will visit most gardens, especially if they find plants in sunny or sheltered locations. The secret here is to make available nectar rich, fragrant flowers which are colourful and from which they feed. Lavender, Buddleia, Syringa, Forsythia and Echinacea are just a few fantastic garden favourites for attracting butterflies and all look great in the garden!

Ornamental grasses are also a popular way of making the garden appealing to seed eating birds.

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  1. Don’t forget water!

Just a little water left out can help out passing critters. Remember if you have a water feature or are near bodies of water, be sure to provide water and shelter for Toads. These are great for keeping unwanted pests at bay and if you have a pond or one nearby its likely you already have Frogs and Toads living nearby. If you have a dog remember Toads will release skin secretions which are toxic to dogs.

  1. Use an old Tennis Ball

Having a space for a water feature in your garden is a fantastic way to attract wildlife, but in the colder months freezing temperatures can create lethal conditions for your pondlife. A great tip for preventing your water feature from completely freezing over is to float several old tennis balls on the surface.

  1. Offer Shelter

Critters and bugs appreciate a little homemade shelter. A pile of old logs or bricks, some overgrown grass or turned over empty pots can all help with providing shelter for animals – Hedgehogs will happily take advantage of your hospitality and thank you by eating pesky slugs and snails – an ideal natural defender of you Hosta plants! 

  1. Go Wild

Wild gardens and meadows have been popular in recent years for their stylish swathes of summer colour. Composting and letting a few patches of your garden grow a little wild will help to encourage visitors (and what gardener needs to be told the virtues of compost!).

Online now you will find many varieties of plants and shrubs which will help you along the way, by both attracting and providing food/shelter for various forms of wildlife.

Read Some of our Best Reader-submitted Tips

How to: Attract Wildlife to the Garden

butterfly on violet scabiosa
Wild butterfly on a violet scabiosa

By allocating just a little bit of time and space to your garden this Autumn, you can easily attract various wildlife to your garden all year around. For many people wildlife is a welcomed addition to the garden providing extra character and also the knowledge that they are doing their bit to help with British conservation.

Online now you will find many varieties of plants and shrubs which will help you along the way, by both attracting and providing food/shelter for various forms of wildlife. Composting and letting a few patches of your garden grow a little wild will help to encourage visitors (and what gardener needs to be told the virtues of compost!).

If you have the space grow trees and big shrubs. By devoting even the smallest part of your garden to attracting wildlife you can turn it into a paradise for beneficial birds, mammals and insects.

bird hanging under peanut birdfeeder (goldfinch)Birds

Birds are attracted to areas where they find both food and shelter. A good way of doing so in the autumn/winter is by planting up shrubs and trees which produce berries, such as Ilex (Holly), Pyracantha or Gaultheria. Not only will they produce valuable food but they also produce some much needed ornamental value in the Winter months. A bird table is also a fantastic way of enticing birds into a specific area of the garden. Ornamental grasses are also a popular way of making the garden appealing to seed eating birds.

Butterflies

They will visit most gardens, especially if they find plants in sunny or sheltered locations. The secret here is to make available nectar rich, fragrant flowers which are colourful and from which they feed.

Perennail strip for Blog pollinatoors
Lavender, Buddleia, Syringa, Forsythia and Echinacea are just a few fantastic garden favourites for attracting butterflies and all look great in the garden!

SquirrelSquirrels

Of course, they are fascinating wildlife to watch as they scurry around during the day. They feed off acorns, buds, nuts, berries and seeds. They will initially appear scared and frightened but with regular feeding they will soon feel at home in your garden. They are easily found around woodland areas, large trees, beech tress and are especially attracted to your bird feeders, although take caution as they can damage them over time.

Toads

Provide water and shelter for Toads! These are great for keeping unwanted pests at bay and if you have a pond or one nearby its likely you already have Frogs and Toads living nearby. (If you have a dog remember Toads will release skin secretions which are toxic to dogs).

 

Hedgehogs

A pile of old logs or bricks, some overgrown grass or turned over empty pots can all help with providing shelter for animals – Hedgehogs will happily take advantage of your hospitality and thank you by eating pesky slugs and snails – an ideal natural defender of you Hosta plants!