Why We Should All Garden for Wildlife

By Adrian Thomas, author of Gardening for Wildlife.

The fact that you’ve clicked on this blog post probably means you have a good idea why you want to garden for wildlife – or indeed why you already do. But it is still worth reminding ourselves why it is such a good thing to do.

For some, it is about the sheer, simple joy of watching living things – connecting with nature, if you like – right on your doorstep. The lightning-speed precision of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth zipping from flower to flower; a House Martin constructing a dome from mud and saliva while hanging off the side of a house; watching a butterfly as it emerges from its pupa – there are endless jaw-dropping moments to be had with wildlife in a garden.

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For other people, it’s about the challenge of learning and perfecting the skills needed to be a ‘good host’ to our feathered and furry (and sometimes shiny and hairy) friends. How can I encourage the Robins in my garden to breed? Why has my frogspawn gone cloudy? How can I entice more bumblebees? These and a million other questions are there to be asked and answered. Gardening for wildlife is an art and a science mixed with a healthy dose of old-fashioned nurture.

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And then there are those who would like to do something good for the planet. I’m no prophet of doom, and I don’t think humankind has totally trashed this world (yet), but you can’t deny we’ve been having quite a wild party. In our gardens, however, we can ensure conservation starts at home. After all, we might like to think of our backyards as private property, but they are part of everyone’s world. The air over your garden is directly connected to the air over the poles and the rainforests; and there are migrating birds that pass through your garden that, a few weeks later, will be feeding next to lions and elephants. By gardening with wildlife in mind, we can ensure our own little ‘space’ makes a positive contribution to the global environment.

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At its very best, gardening for wildlife is all three of these reasons combined. Oh, and it’s pretty good fun. I love it, and I hope you will too!

All photographs are courtesy of Adrian Thomas. Do not reuse without permission.

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RSPB Gardening for Wildlife: New Edition by Adrian Thomas.

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