Make some changes!
These ‘anti New Year resolutions’ should make your garden even more wildlife-friendly
Is New Year the best time to be making resolutions? For anyone planning big changes, the timing doesn’t seem helpful, and January is usually enough of a challenge in itself! Instead, maybe it’s an idea to make some anti-resolutions – things to not do that should make your garden a little more wildlife-friendly.
Don’t use chemicals
Save your money and spend it on something much nicer. It’s all about the long game; you can zap pests that you don’t like, but there will be ‘friendly fire’ losses. By going organic you’ll give useful predators like ladybirds, lacewings and rove beetles a break. They’ll then do the pest control for you.
Don’t bother with the hover!
At some happy time in the not-so-distant future, it’ll be summer. Resolve now to spend more time in a comfy chair with a drink and/ or good book and let the grass grow! Less is more. Mow less often, and when you do use the mower, don’t do all of the lawn in one go. Grass that’s allowed to grow to a height of 9cm (3½in) or more develops a stronger root structure, so can tolerate drought better. And, of course, longer grass is far better for all sorts of insects and other invertebrates. That will feed birds like robins and dunnocks, as well as small animals such as toads and shrews.
Don’t use the word ‘weed’
Yes, there are plants that will take a mile if you give them an inch, but most plants that we consider weeds are easy to live with. My lawn is full of dandelions each spring, which used to annoy me. But a few years ago I chose to rethink my attitude to them and see them as just another cheery spring flower – as welcome as daffs. Dandelion flowers are a great nectar source for early insects, and I manage to keep them in check by removing flower heads before they set seed.
Don’t tidy (especially in autumn)
B Birds and animals don’t like tidy! If you let plants die back and set seed in autumn there’ll be more for birds to eat when it gets cold. Plus, insects will have somewhere to shelter during the winter. Prunings left as log piles attract invertebrates as they rot down, which means there’s more for hedgehogs, newts, and other insect-eaters to find.
Don’t buy a cat
…or add to your cat clan if you’re already a cat owner. The nation’s domestic cats are bad news for wildlife. If you need a feline ‘fix’, stick to social media – there’s more than enough cute cat footage there!
Dandelions don’t have to be weeds! Their flowers are loved by early bees
Sadly cats like to pick off birds and frogs A la m y
Buy more plants instead of chemicals! A la m y