Gardening for Wildlife

Green roof bird table
Green roof bird table

Even the smallest garden can include elements that encourage and sustain wildlife. Cumbria Wildlife Corporate Trust members, Liz and Phil Newport of Wildroof Landscapes, share ideas for gardens of all sizes.

Water is essential for life so incorporating a water feature into your garden will provide an oasis for wildlife, especially during dry weather. A pond is the ideal approach as it will widen the range of plants in the garden and give creatures an invaluable resource and a great habitat.

“A volume of about 8,000-10,000 litres with a surface area of around 25 m2 is probably the minimum for a healthy pond,” says Liz, “and it works well to incorporate space for a bog garden to accommodate overflow in wetter months. A pebble beach on one edge adds variety and enables wildlife to access the water safely.”

Liz and Phil have often included a small reed bed into their designs as it helps with natural water filtration. Plants to feature in a reed bed include iris pseudacorus, typha minima and butomus umbrellatus, also known as dwarf bulrush and flowering rush respectively.

Wildroof Landscapes, as you might guess, have a special expertise in creating green or wild roofs and these come in all shapes and sizes.

“I think the smallest we’ve done was on a bird table roof,” says Phil, “but sheds, wood stores, extensions and complete buildings can have a green roof and planting can range from simple sedum mats to wildflowers.”

Such roofs attract birds and insects such as blue tits, great tits and house sparrows so they’re great for wildlife and they provide excellent camouflage too.

“We’d always recommend reinforcing support for the wildlife that are already seen in a garden as a first priority,” says Liz, “but it is lovely to hear stories of ponds, green roofs and fresh planting attracting surprise visitors too.”

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