Wildlife Garden Ideas & Planning your Design

Choosing plants

Choosing the right kind of plants for you, your garden and the wildlife in it, is an important part of building a successful nature friendly space.

Find out as much as you can about the soil, and whether your garden is sunny or shady. Many plants need specific soil and light conditions. Look around and find out what grows well in your local area, or find plants that require similar conditions to those already thriving in and around your garden.

Think about foliage as well as flowers, try to include leaves of different colours, shapes and textures, and mix evergreens with deciduous plants. Check in a gardening book or on the label to find out how large the plants will grow and what maintenance they need and when.

Look at possible plants choices from all angles. For example, not all ornamental fruit trees will produce fruit, but they may be valuable in other ways. Varieties susceptible to insect attack for instance, are valuable to birds and other insects which feed on the offending insect.

Have foresight and build for the future and not just the present. It’s important to remember that many plants often take several years to mature. For example, you are not likely to see a song thrush feeding on ivy berries for at least five years.

You may also choose to remove plants from an existing garden, but careful consideration should be given in mature gardens before removing an established plant to replace with a new one. Think about how it might impact existing wildlife, and whether what you’re looking to replace it with will bring the same value and thrive in the same place.

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