RSPB Scotland's Allie McGregor shares five activities you can do to help nature in summer.

Five ways to help give nature a home this summer

Grow flowers for bee and butterflies

Pollinators like bees and butterflies do an incredibly important job. We can help them in our gardens and greenspaces by growing different flowers and shrubs that are full of nectar and pollen, to give them a rich feeding ground throughout the year.

bumblebees on a sunflower

Photo: Jenny Tweedie (rspb-images.com)

In summer some of the best plants for bees are Allium (especially Allium sphaerocephalon), borage, catmint (Nepeta) Cirsium rivulare, foxglove (Digitalis) and most herbs. For butterflies you could plant coneflower, lavender, marjoram and verbena bonariensis.

Find out more about growing for bees here and for butterflies here.

Make a bird bath

Having a reliable source of fresh water is essential for birds and putting out a bird bath in summer can make a big difference at a time of year when water may be more scarce. You can buy a bird bath, or make your very own at home!

All you need to make a bird bath at home is a shallow, watertight bowl of some kind, such as an upturned dustbin lid or large circular plant tray, some stones or gravel, bricks or a plinth to raise the bowl up and of course water!

blue tit chick perched by birdbath

Photo: Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

Check out our step-by-step guide for building a birdbath here: https://bit.ly/3cXO7Fj

Open a hotel for garden wildlife

You can literally give your garden wildlife a home by building one! Whether it's for bees, bugs, frogs or hedgehogs.

Spring and summer are a great time to build a home for solitary bees as they emerge in the sunshine. If you build a hedgehog home in summer it will be ready when they start to house-hunt for a safe place in the autumn. Maybe making a cool, damp, dark shelter for any visiting amphibians is the activity for you!

No matter what wildlife you want to attract to your garden, we have heaps on advice on how to build it a safe cosy place to stay in your garden. Check out our guide for

If you want to create a home for nesting birds, the best time to start is earlier in the year, so they can be ready when the birds begin to seek out the perfect spot.

Create a pond in your garden

If you're feeling ambitious, you can get to work creating a large pond in your garden, but it's also easy to create a mini pond for wildlife with things you might find around the house or out on a walk.

pouring water into garden container

Filling the mini-pond. Photo: Nick Cumard (rspb-images.com)

If you've got a large container, some gravel or rocks and some pond plants, you'll have a mini-pond brimming with life in no time! Get the full instructions here: https://bit.ly/2ZnkxoK

Some of the life you might see could be damselflies, water lice, a bird taking a dip or even a frog or newt!

Open a cafe for your garden visitors

Feed hungry garden hedgehogs to help them raise hoglets and prepare for hibernation in winter. Safe foods for hedgehogs include things like tinned dog or cat food (not fish-based) and crushed dog or cat biscuits, as well as specialist hedgehog food you can purchase. Make sure you don’t put out too much food, as it’s not nice to have leftovers lying around, and just remember that what we provide is supplementary to a natural diet, so do not overfeed your ‘hogs.

You can check out all our tips for opening your very own hedgehog cafe here: https://bit.ly/2yngFJc

 hedgehog

Photo: Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com)

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