River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Passionate About Plants

October 2010

Paul explains why we should encourage wild life in our gardens

Why should we encourage wildlife into the Garden?

Most people have an instinctive love of nature. When a butterfly is trapped in the house you automatically open a window and carefully guide it back to freedom, children rush to feed ducks in the park, and you can feel it in the thrill of seeing a badger walking through the beam of your cars headlights.

With the speed of life quickening to keep in step with the latest internet speed and the stress and strains of modern life it is even more important to "get back to nature". Just a few minutes of quiet relaxation in your garden amongst your trees and shrubs, with bird song and bumble bees for entertainment and even the most stressed city worker is ready for anything. I personally feel that there is something magical in sharing your garden with a whole host of wild creatures (and I don't mean your angry wife!). Many of our larger creatures, particularly mammals, avoid confrontation by operating under the cover of darkness. Take the trouble to join them in the late cover of twilight, and a minute or two of silent waiting will be rewarded with the snuffles, scuffles and grunts of hedgehogs, field mice and other various night visitors. Just as important are the smaller creatures that visit or live in your garden. I know insects are not some people's cup of tea, but they are essential in maintaining a well balanced wildlife garden that can act as an oasis in the acres of barren cornfields.

It is not too fanciful to suppose that an environment that is healthy for many beasts is also healthy for us and so it follows a landscape that is hostile to wildlife is also unhealthy for humans to live in. In two generations we have devastated the world with chemical pollution, urban expansion, land drainage, road construction and industrialised agriculture. I remember cycling through the country lanes in the early seventies, each side of me would be high hedges and wildflowers. I would be deafened by the songbirds and in the evenings I would be serenaded by nightingales. Where are they now?

We must not leave it to others we can all do our bit by creating a garden that helps the wildlife to survive. Your garden not only has a role as an oasis it can be a wildlife "service station" in a corridor system allowing wildlife to move around. There are over a million acres of private gardens in Britain and the area is increasing. We cannot hope to solve the whole nature conservation problem with domestic gardens. Our wildlife gardens will never provide the habitat for the Osprey, the Red Deer or the Otter, but they can make an enormous difference to a huge variety of plants and animals.

We need to think carefully about sharing the beauty of our garden with the needs of our wildlife. In my experience the two can go easily hand in hand.

Next month I will explain how to create your own wildlife garden.

Happy Gardening.

Paul Markwell

HND Com. Hort.

Paul Markwell.

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