|A dunnock exploring our garden|
As we are hearing more and more, looking after the local wildlife requires more than just refraining from using chemicals that kill, or may weaken, bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects as well as birds and other animals.
An article in the Guardian yesterday reminded us that the shrinking number of hedgerows in the countryside mean that the gardener has an important role to play in helping provide habitats for hedgehogs. If you can't provide a mixed native hedge a pile of logs and leaves will provide hedgehogs with shelter. A log pile is also good for all manner of insects, which may in turn encourage a wide range of birds into your garden. Leaving patches of longer grass is also good for insects.
|Cowslips and primroses add a splash of colour to the garden early in the year|
If you are still thinking about what flowers to plant why not try a patch of wild flowers, either grown from seed or by buying a few from your local garden centre. If you don't want wild flowers, try to avoid too many showy double flowers which are not designed for bees and butterflies to reach the nectar and may not even have the pollen bees need to rear their young. Instead experiment with some cottage garden favourites such as foxgloves, snapdragons and penstemons.
|Honey bee on cherry blossom on a very warm day in March|
|An early bumblebee foraging in Winter heather in March|
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust provide a list of seasonal plants while Butterfly Conservation offers further suggestions. The RHS provides a pretty comprehensive list of plants for pollinators here.
I've just come across The Pollinator Garden, a great website which has a wealth of information about gardening for wildlife.