WILDLIFE GARDENING with JENNY STEEL

 

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 Wildlife Gardening Topics

Jenny wrote about wildlife gardening for Organic Gardening Magazine for many years.  If you want to find out more about specific wildlife gardening topics, click on the information below to access this archive of some of Jenny's monthly articles.


Preparing your Wildlife Garden for Spring - February  February is a month full of the promise of spring – shoots of bulbs pushing through the soil, thrushes singing from treetops and great tits checking out nest boxes. If you are fortunate snowdrops and crocuses will be blooming in your garden. But weather-wise February certainly does not feel much like spring. It may bring the coldest conditions of the winter, and there have been times over the last few years when this most fickle month has fooled us with mild temperatures.  Read more....


Create a Shady Wildlife Habitat - January  Creating small wildlife areas in a garden, or at least giving a passing nod to the idea of so called ‘mini-habitats’ for wildlife, has always been one of the keys to encouraging a range of creatures to our gardens. Couple this with ensuring that the whole area is wildlife friendly and managed organically wherever possible and you could be well on the way to making the perfect wildlife garden. However the concept of creating a woodland habitat is an intimidating prospect for most of us.  Read more....


Grow Berries and Fruit for Birds - December   Gardeners have appreciated the value of encouraging birds to their plots since gardening began.  We only have to watch as a Robin visits newly turned ground, or spend a little time observing a small flock of Blue Tits and Great Tits foraging amongst our roses to appreciate the numbers of insects that these birds take, reducing, or even eliminating, the need for some other form of pest control.  Add the pleasure of getting to know your local birds and the joy that people feel when observing wildlife.    Read more.....


How to Make a Log Pile - November   Organic gardeners have known for many years that their plots are important wildlife habitats, but within most gardens - organic or not - is an important natural substance that a huge range of garden wildlife relies upon.  Stag beetles, centipedes, woodpeckers, nuthatches, shrews, woodlice, hedgehogs and bats, and plants including species of moss, fungi and liverwort are just a small number of the animals and plants dependent in some way upon dead wood.    Read more.....


Planting Climbers for Wildlife - October  With autumn approaching, we can once again let our imaginations loose and plan for improvements and additions to our gardens, as long as we have spaces.  But often keen gardeners find that their plot is full to overflowing and another plant cannot be squeezed in anywhere.  The answer may be to turn our eyes skyward. Think vertically, and you will see endless possibilities! It is all too easy to overlook the vertical element when we are designing a new area or filling in existing gaps.   Read more.....


Make a Mini-Meadow - September   After, hopefully, a productive but relatively leisurely time in the garden through mid summer, we should now be in the mood for a new project.  Late summer and early autumn are good times for planning and embarking on changes in the garden, as the weather cools and rain refreshes both plants and soil. Thoughts of improvements are in our minds and best acted upon whilst the enthusiasm is with us! This is also a good time to sow seeds, especially our native wildflowers.    Read more...... 


Late Summer Perennials for Wildlife - August   For many of us the high spot in almost every garden is that time in late June when everything seems to be in full flower and the garden is humming with insects.  As the summer moves on, there can be a lack of colour, and late-flowering varieties of insect-friendly plants are less easy to find than those that burst into bloom in June and July.  This can all add up to a lack of pollen and nectar for our garden insects just when it is needed.    Read more.....


Dragonflies and Damselflies - July  Although gardening for wildlife is now most definitely a mainstream activity and what was once seen as a rather quirky pastime is now a regular feature in almost all gardening magazines and television programmes, there is still a tendency for many of us to concentrate on those creatures that we see as either beneficial to the gardener (bees, ladybirds and slug devouring ground beetles for instance) or those that are regarded as beautiful – butterflies, blue tits or song thrushes.  Read more.......


Meadow Butterflies - June  One of the great joys of early summer is the buzz in the garden, wildlife everywhere going about its business, creating a wonderful feeling of a habitat brimming with life.  Birds and insects in particular are around in abundance now so the next few weeks could be a good time to become more familiar with some of the less obvious butterflies that may visit your garden. Over the last couple of months we have welcomed the bright spring butterflies – the brimstone, small tortoiseshell, peacock and comma.   Read more......


Early Summer Butterflies - May   May is wonderful month in the garden – full of the promise of summer but still with the green lushness of spring.  In the countryside and the wildlife garden, the breeding activity of birds and small mammals may be coming to an end but many of our butterfly species are still in the throws of mating and laying eggs.  May is an intermediate month for butterflies with both spring and summer species around. If your garden is butterfly friendly you could see a good variety this month.  Read more......


Wildlife-friendly Containers - April   In these water conscious days, the practice of having lots of pots and containers around our gardens is something we need to consider carefully for a variety of reasons, however much they may enhance our outdoor spaces.  Bedding plants have come under fire in recent times for being very wasteful of a variety of resources, plus the trial of the evening watering routine is something many approach with a certain amount of dread if time is an issue.  Read more......


Growing Buddleias - March In the mid 19th century Pere Armond David, a French missionary, introduced into Britain a shrub that was to become one of the most useful additions to our gardens. During his travels in Southwest China in 1869, David came across a plant known as ‘summer lilac’ and sent seeds of this sweet scented shrub to Kew Gardens where they quickly germinated.  The new shrub rapidly became a favourite with English gardeners and was named in honour of English botanist clergyman Adam Buddle, and David, its collector.  Read more......


© Text and photographs Jenny Steel 2017