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As predators, they eat other insects, some of which can be problematic pests in our flower and vegetable gardens. Leaving layers of leaf litter for these animals to burrow under in the winter allows them to get a jump-start on minimizing pest infestations in the spring and summer.

Bug Hotels & Hedgehog Piles

If mammals are your focus, rest assured that squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks, opossums, deer, and others will gladly enjoy the end of season bounty in the form of dried seeds, unharvested vegetables, or the hardy leaves that are tolerating early frost. The presence of small mammals creates likely hunting territory for foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and raptors. A messy garden provides nourishment at all levels of the food chain. Last, but certainly not least, is the value of helping to shift what we find aesthetically beautiful.

Allowing our gardens to be messy for wildlife continues the growing awareness of the value of supporting native biodiversity. Have you ever taken a moment to see beyond the brown, dried, shriveled flowers and admired the sturdy fragility of a winter garden? This splendor is especially noticeable after the first frost in areas that experience frost as the stems and flowerheads are covered in a thin layer of frozen dew. For those that experience regional snowfall, did you know some people actually garden to ensure a pleasing winter garden view?

Plants for wildlife

This often entails selecting plants with colorful and structurally resilient stems and seed heads built to stand-up to snowfall. Arching branches of native shrubs displaying frosty fruits, seedheads shooting up from the icy white blanket reminding birds where to land for sustenance, and the vibrant stems of some of our favorite natives assure us that the warm colors of spring and summer will return. Gardens can be alive all year if we embrace a new paradigm of seasonal lazy gardening. Go ahead, put away the shears, set-down the rake, pull up a lawn chair, and join us in celebrating the abundance that can emerge from a messy garden.

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Consider making a donation to support our project. Stay Connected To Habitat Network! Why have a plain, ugly fence when a green, living boundary can bring the riches of flowers, scent, berries, rich autumn colours and wildlife?

The Wildlife Garden Project - How to help reptiles and amphibians in your garden

Ever thought about which heavenly-scented plants provide night-time nectar for moths? Or digging a pond? News, advice and what wildlife to look out for in your garden. We'll also let you know how you can help and support wildlife near you. We promise you that we never buy or sell data with other organisations so your contact details are safe with us. You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. Even a small pond can be home to an interesting range of wildlife, including damsel and dragonflies, frogs and newts.

It could also become a feeding ground for birds, hedgehogs and bats — the best natural garden pest controllers. Small, round, brown and famously covered in spines, the hedgehog is one of the most familiar of Britain's wild mammals. Insensitive land use, a reduction in plant species diversity and the use of insecticides have all been linked to declining bee numbers. To avoid attracting rats, only use raw food.

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Make sure your garden fences have some gaps at the bottom. This will allow wildlife to move through from plot-to-plot.

It will also help link different habitats together. Flowers look beautiful and bring colour and scent into your garden.

Focus on fungi in the Wildlife Garden | UK Wildlife – Blogs from the Natural History Museum

They also provide food for many insects. Grow as many varieties as possible to ensure colour from spring through into autumn. Go for native species, if possible. Learn to relax about weeds. Plants such as nettles, daisies and buttercups are important sources of food for many insects, including butterflies and moths. They flower for a long time, whatever the weather.

Gardening for wildlife

And so provide food when other sources might be absent. The way we garden plays a key roll in encouraging wildlife. Here are five places where we are doing our bit for nature. Our wildlife and the lives of future generations are at risk unless we change the way we farm our land. Peter Nixon, our former director of land, landscape and nature, explains why. All over the country our wildlife is in trouble.

But here are seven of our farms where our tenant farmers are working to bring nature back.

From restoring the gardens of the past to wild planting for the future, head behind the scenes and find out what it takes to look after your favourite gardens. Want to discover more than gardens, or pick up horticultural tips from our green-fingered experts? Browse all of our gardening content in one place to find your next inspiration. Whether you're looking for tools and essentials or something decorative to spruce up your garden, our range of garden and outdoor products can help get you started.