RSPB England's Lucy Hodson explores why locking away the lawnmower is the best thing you can do for your garden and the environment.
Why a messy garden can be good for wildlife
Take half an hour on a sunny day in early summer. Just sit in your garden, and watch. Before long, you’ll notice the thrumming rhythm of life. Hoverflies, bees and butterflies bustle around flowers. Beetles, spiders and bugs rumble through the grass and over stones. Birds flit from the cover of a hedge, darting to the feeders for a quick visit. Our gardens are truly alive and they can host a huge variety of wildlife.
Those of us lucky enough to have a garden will know about the joy, interest and escapism a bit of greenery can provide. Gardening is a widespread and popular hobby, and managing even the smallest patch of green can be good for both our mental and physical health.
As humans, many of us regularly feel the urge to tidy. Presenting our houses and spaces in a neat, orderly fashion can be very satisfying, and nobody likes mess, right?
Unfortunately, our tidy habits can affect the wildlife we share our towns and green spaces with. Removing or reducing the number of bushes, hedges and trees can shrink the amount of cover and shelter available for wildlife. By labelling some plants as ‘weeds’, and waging war against them, we remove vital foodplants for both pollinators and birds. Sourcing non-native plants, and using environmentally damaging products in our garden can cause problems for wildlife elsewhere.
So how can we help?
Inviting wildlife back into our gardens can be both simple and rewarding. No matter the size, our gardens have the potential to contain several ‘mini-habitats’. A good, wild garden can be home to literally thousands of species!
Nature is messy, but there is beauty in its chaos. By learning to appreciate it, we can let go of our tendency to over-tidy, and create spaces around us that wildlife will fill! The best bit is, it’s dead easy. By sitting back and doing less, you can open the door to a wealth of wildlife. Here’s three ways you can give your garden a break:
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