5 Jul 2013

Share your garden with wildlife.

The times are changing along with the seasons. This year, the English bluebells flowered a month late. Nature needs a helping hand in a place near you. Flying, crawling or slithering critters need shelter and sustenance. 

If you'd love to see more wildlife in your garden, clever choices for your borders and herb patches can give nature a helping hand. Create safe area for wildlife away from human influences—leave part of your garden untouched, with good access to other gardens or wild spaces. By making space for the critters you can provide for the whole food chain, without the need to dig into your pocket. An undisturbed pile of logs makes an excellent hideaway for an incredible number of insects which in turn can attract birds and mammals.

A strip of land divides our garden from the grassy field alongside stables. Long ago, foresighted individuals planted apple trees forty feet apart along this narrow section. Brambles and grasses have filled in the space. Bees are hovering over the flowers at the moment. I look forward to picking blackberries. There will be plenty to share with the birds and wild life. 

But if you prefer a more orderly garden, you can still provide additional food and shelter for creatures large and small with a good mix of plants.

*      Trees give birds somewhere to nest and can provide fruit for foxes, badgers and even deer
*      Hedgerows, much used in England to divide fields, growing native plants such as holly, provide essential cover and corridors that join up green spaces for small mammals
*      A range of shrubs that flower at different times will improve the diversity of visitors to your garden
*      Longer grass is essential for egg-laying insects such as butterflies, so leave a bit of lawn untrimmed
*      Taller flowers will attract flying friends from bees to dragonflies
*      Night-scented plants such as buddleia and evening primrose are great for moths which in turn are a feast for bats
*      Wall climbers can provide links between gardens for pollinators
*      Make a calm haven in coastal gardens with trellis and evergreens to act as a windbreak
*      Don't forget your water feature: ponds are essential for amphibians and offer a bath and beverage for birds
*      Compost heaps are a warm home to reptiles as well as a great source of nutrients for your garden

Top ten plants every wildlife gardener should consider for their patch are: sunflowers, foxgloves, thyme, lavender, honeysuckle, rowan, ice plant, firethorn, barberry and purple loosestrife.


I sit quietly beneath the sunshade
Watching all the life around me parade
Hoverflies sip sweet nectar as they please
Snapdragons shut their lips tight behind bees.

Butterflies weave in and out amongst plants
That my delighted eyes placed to enhance
The riot of colour and smell planted
A garden altar to heaven granted.

It's so amazing that we can achieve
A result so perfect when we perceive
The concept of so many things to grow
Reliant on our desire to flow.

At last in sunshine shown to perfection
Living plants laid out for eyes detection
From nowhere, insects feast in the reward
Their inter-action cannot be ignored.

And soon the song birds are tempted lower
From the neighbourhood, cats watch and glower
Feathers strewn about like angel's traces
And spiders weave webs around their places.

No matter what first jolts your intention
All of nature weaves it's own invention
Can't judge the victor between good and bad
Sunshine lifts my spirits, I can't be sad.

© Francene Stanley

We share this world with every living thing. Let's make a garden altar—reliant on our desire to flow.


  1. I love English gardens. I grow mine in earthboxes since I live in a deed restricted community.

  2. Hi Francene .. lovely poem - such beautiful words and I love the title ...

    You've given great food for thought - for all things natural .. if only we all could do these things .. I rent - so have no say in the garden, albeit it's uninteresting - for now, such is life .. but I'd love a garden.

    Such wonderful information - enjoy the sunshine and the garden .. cheers Hilary

  3. absolutely lovely poem. Alas, come visit in Texas - everything is slowly frying from over 100 degrees F. We have some purple salvia and mexican heather that chooses to live. But we are on drought condition water and all is parched. Enjoy your flowers and greenery.
    Nice post - I live vicariously


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