As blackberries ripen in the hedges, the first signs of autumn are appearing and most of our summer visitors are beginning their migration south to sunnier spots. In our gardens, petals are beginning to drop as our once impressive summer blooms start to look distinctly worse for wear and for many is this is the signal to dust off the trowel and break out the secateurs.
Whilst this is a time when gardeners traditionally start to tidy up, to help wildlife we should all cut back on cutting back. How we look after our own green spaces is just as important as managing the habitats around us and can help Revive our World. Whether that area is a garden, a courtyard or balcony. Creating the right space for wildlife doesn’t necessarily mean creating a mini jungle. A garden that is both a haven for wildlife and also a beautiful, useable space, can be achieved through small changes.
Simple steps such as leaving seed heads on plants, like teasels, thistles and sunflowers, and allowing the vegetation to die back naturally will provide a source of food and shelter for birds and other wildlife through the colder months. Although it’s tempting to remove climbers such as ivy, they provide a late source of autumn nectar for insects, and late winter berries for birds – so think twice about whether you really need to prune.
Another way to help wildlife is to try to keep weeding to a minimum. Weeds are simply wild plants in the wrong place. If an abundance of wild plants doesn’t appeal, then a good compromise is to leave those with attractive flowers in place, especially if they are tucked away between shrubs, as this will provide food and shelter for insects.
Although container grown plants can be planted at any time, autumn gives them plenty of time to establish before winter. Don’t forget that variety is the spice of life, choose different plants that will flower at different times of the year, so insects can always find food. Using containers of different shapes and sizes and grouping plants together, helps the plants retain humidity, plus it can make for a beautiful display.
If you want to learn more why not drop by our ‘Welcoming wildlife to your garden’ workshops on 18 and 25 September at Banana Block as part of our Revive Our World campaign, where will be encouraging people to create more space, roll up their sleeves and shout louder for nature. For more information visit our Great Big Green Week blog.
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