Step into Spring!

Spring is here and its time to start waking up the garden after the winter. It’s the perfect opportunity to get the whole family involved with planting and sprucing the garden up ready for those summer evenings.

Our local wildlife loves nothing more than a great variety of plants and pollinators and you can help teach your kids about biodiversity and get them learning and having fun outdoors.

Biodiversity is all the different kinds of life you’ll find in one area, the variety of animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms. Each of these work together in their ecosystems and here are a few small changes you can make to your garden to bring major benefits for the creatures that call it home:

How to help biodiversity:

  • Try a wildflower area of your garden. Flowers provide pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other insects that perform the vital task of fertilisation.
  • Grow a mix of trees, shrubs and climbers, which along with hedgerows provide connective habitats and perfect homes for insects, birds and bats!
  • Why not spend some time identifying the birds that live in your garden with your children and on an evening at dusk keep your eye out for bats fluttering by!
  • Fast-growing trees that require little maintenance also provide maximum benefits in terms of carbon capture.
  • Mix up the patio areas with pockets of shrubs, plants and flowers – brilliant for the visiting butterflies and bees and provides a splash of colour throughout your garden!
  • Plant a variety of plant types and species to support a range of wildlife, mix of trees, shrubs, flowering plants
  • Grow perennial plants over large areas, these grow in the same place every year minimising annual soil disturbance, helping carbon capture
  • Plant berry-bearing trees and shrubs, like holly, hawthorn, apple and other fruit trees which provide food and protection for birds and fruit for you and your family!
  • Add water to your garden, even a mini pond made out of large pot will attract birds and insects to drink, and in larger ponds you will attract frogs – great for nature hunting with the kids!
  • Make compost and mulch, covering garden soil with organic matter such as bark to increase the nutrients in your soil!
  • Get wild and messy, let a section of your garden become wild or turn it into a mini wildflower meadow. Plants such as teasel are the favourite ‘go to’ for gold finches!
  • Plant a range of plant species of all shapes, colours, sizes and fragrances – this will attract different species throughout the year
  • Build a bug hotel and get the magnifying glasses out with the family t spot what creepy crawlies call it home!
  • A species which has been declining rapidly over recent years – the humble hedgehog can be helped by small measures such as creating a hedgehog sized hole in your fence. We can’t guarantee it won’t mean next door’s pet sneaks through but it will allow hedgehogs to move more freely.

Choose plants that provide pollen and nectar for as long a season as possible, from spring to autumn, some even to early winter.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is a useful site showing which plants to put in throughout the year for pollinating insects, meaning throughout the year you will be providing for wildlife in your garden. Another useful site for providing guidance on making your shrubs as wildlife friendly as possible is the RSPB website.