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Encouraging Wildlife Into Your Garden (how to)

I often get asked what the most important environmentally friendly things we can do in the garden are. For me, it has to be encouraging wildlife back to our gardens. Here are my top 5 to dos:
Bees and Insects
Encourage insects by planting up your garden with flowering plants, shrubs and trees to provide all year round flowering. Try Mahonia or Sarcococca (sweet box) for Winter flowering, Chanomeles (ornamental quince) or Ilex (Holly) for Spring, Fox gloves for Summer and Ivy for Autumn. See the RHS list for full details:

Build a Pond
By adding water to you garden, you automatically create a new habitat that can sustain a wide variety of insects and invertebrates. These in turn provide food for other animals and birds.
You can plant up your wildlife pond or alternatively let it naturally establish. Always create a slope to allow creatures in and out of the water!
Dead wood pile
If you have a corner of the garden which is out of the way, or perhaps in the shade, create a dead wood pile. This creates another habitat often lost in the garden. It's great for fungi and hibernating animals!
Wildlife hedge
If you have room, plant up a new hedge containing native species such as: hawthorn, black thorn, hazel, beech, elder and rowen. These will provide a valuable food source through the Winter (as long as you don’t cut the hedge in the Autumn) as well as a great habitat for nesting birds.
Long grass/meadow area
Wildlife meadows are wonderful habitats which have disappeared from our countryside in recent years. But even if you don’t have acres to spare, create your own by simply adjusting your mowing regime to allow areas of grass to grow long and perhaps be cut down at the end of summer mimicking a hay meadow cycle. It also saves you buying petrol for your mower!
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