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Gardening, Encouraging Wildlife Into The Garden

Thursday, 14 May 2009

It's approaching summer and as well as looking after plants in your garden it's always important to look after the wildlife that lives there too.

Eugene's tip five tips for attracting wildlife into the garden

. If you have a pile of wood or branches in the garden that has been sitting there for a while then leave it there. It will quickly become a home to nature, especially if its in a shady spot. Frogs, hedgehogs, insect eating beetles and bumblebees will happily make themselves at home.

. Use dry porridge, oats, raisins, pastry and potatoes as bird feed. It's much more nutritious to birds than the likes of breadcrumbs.

. Gardens are mini nature reserves. Allow small areas to revert. For example, allowing nettles to grow. Nettles are loved by ladybirds and hoverflys.

. Ponds are also great for nature bringing birds into the garden. However ensure the sides of the pond are sloping so that hedgehogs can get out of the pond if they fall in.

. If you have a few bird boxes don't have them too close together as birds like all the space they can get.

Plants to encourage wildlife
Hanging Basket
Hanging Basket €9.95
Lavender €6.95
Nemesia, €3.95
Clematis, €8.99, encourages beneficial insects
Daphne, €13.85, encourages birds (poisonous to humans)
Penstemon, €5.99. attracts bees
Pyrcantha, €9.49, produces red berries which will attract birds into your garden
Verbena, €4.99, Flowers in both Summer and autumn, loved by butterflies
Nepeta, €4.99, Scented flowers attract bees.

Also we have bees on set, these are in a small box. The box has little net windows at either side so we'll be able to see the bees through it. The ones we are showing are not commercially available.

"Make It Wild" campaign
The Irish wildlife trust are currently running a campaign to encourage county councils to make their areas more wildlife friendly. Viewers can get in touch with the Irish Wildlife Trust, and they'll send them out a pack. (Please see additional info)

Eugene's tip of the week
Protect Irelands Hedgerows!
The Irish Wildlife Trust are asking that we all protect our hedgerows around this time. It is illegal to cut them down as they support many animals such as badgers, owls, hedgehogs, stoats and blackbirds. These hedgerows are sometimes cut back too fat and die as a result. (Please see additional info)

All plants on set supplied by Tully nurseries, / 018433174

Make it Wild
Make it Wild is the new IWT programme building awareness of wildlife issues amongst individuals, families, communities and businesses and encourages people to take action for biodiversity in their local area. It guides people on how to create areas for wildlife and for people to enjoy. Not only can individials or groups enhance wildlife at a local level but they will also be rewarded with a Make it Wild cert for creating a wildlife habitat.

This year the IWT is piloting the Make it Wild programme with 5 Local Authorities and working with tidy towns groups in counties Laois, Westmeath, Roscommon, Dublin (Fingal) and Kildare. This is very fitting with the Tidy Towns increased focus on improving biodiversity as part of the competition.

The Tidy Towns groups will participate in Make it Wild which consists of various elements. Upon registering intent to make an area wild the groups can avail of an IWT starter pack, which will describe the various steps needed to make an area wild e.g. making ponds, planting native trees. On receiving the pack the participants will examine the reasons to make an area wild and how important it is to halt the loss of biodiversity in Ireland. Next the participants will plan what they need to do to enhance the biodiversity in their chosen area; whether its a derelict space, garden, school/business grounds. Once the plan is in place the actions chosen are carried out e.g. planting, providing water sources. When the area has been made wild it will be certified by the Irish Wildlife Trust. The participants will have to carry out certain steps in the pack to qualify for certification.

To help groups get started the IWT can provide introductory workshops to groups in participating Local Authorities on how to use the information provided in the pack. The IWT would like to thank the following Local Authorites in Laois, Westmeath, Roscommon, Dublin (Fingal) and Kildare for their support through the Local Agenda 21 Partnership Funds for supporting this new and exciting IWT initiative.