I’m not the world’s best or keenest gardener. My attempts at vegetable growing this year have largely failed (thwarted once again by slugs and lack of time). And weeds have rather taken over the border. So the bit of encouragement that came my via Surrey Wildlife Trust‘s Wildlife Garden Awards was most welcome.
Surrey Wildlife Trust are trying to encourage more people to provide shelter, food and drink for our wild neighbours in their gardens. Gardens have the potential to become havens for wildlife, if they’re managed the right way, no matter how small they are. So the Trust have set up a Wildlife Garden Award scheme for gardeners in Surrey.
Having previously lived in a flat without a garden, I was excited by the opportunities having a (tiny) garden offered when we moved here. For the first year or two we did quite a lot of work to try to make our garden more wildlife friendly. But having made those changes, and not had any major wildlife garden improvement projects on the go for a while, I’d lost a bit of perspective on how we were doing. So filling in the self-assessment form was a revelation – we’re not doing badly at all! I don’t find out the results until the end of September / beginning of October, but I was pleased by the number of boxes I was able to tick:
Bird feeding station
- Nectar rich flowers
- Fruit trees or berry bearing shrubs
- Perennials left un-cut until spring
- Vegetable patch / container
- Herb garden
- Dead wood / log pile
- Climbing plants
- Some lawn left to grow long
- Mini wild flower meadow
- Hedgehog and bird boxes
- Insect hotel
- Wildlife pond – no fish!
- Bird bath
- No use of pesticide & slug pellets
- Avoid chemical weed killers
- Compost heap & wormery
- Rain butts
- Use peat free compost
Some of the boxes I wasn’t able to tick were ones that I’d never be able to tick for my garden – it’s not near a stream or on boggy ground, and is too small for a native hedge. But being reminded that I am doing a reasonable job is reassuring, and it’s inspiring me to think about what else I could do to make my garden even more wildlife friendly. Longer term, I’d love to turn our flat roof into a green roof, although that will take a bit of planning and expense.
I guess it shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise to me, given the number of wild visitors our garden attracts (mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects and birds). But we all need a bit of encouragement every now and then. So thanks, Surrey Wildlife Trust, for providing it.
If you’d like a bit of inspiration for how to make your garden or balcony super attractive to wildlife, visit:
- Wild About Gardens (a wildlife gardening website from the Wildlife Trusts and Royal Horticultural Society)
- Give Nature a Home in Your Garden (from the RSPB)