Five simple ways to promote biodiversity in your garden
It doesn’t take much to see the impact of climate change. The last two years are a prime example. This time last year, the Garden had seen five months of solid sunshine and many of the plants struggled with the lack of water. The Garden faces challenges with water pressure, so we don’t have a fancy irrigation system. It’s largely watered by hand, with some sprinklers in areas. This year we have seen the opposite ends of extremes. A short sharp wave of above-average temperatures followed by what feels like weeks of rain. Now, it seems that the only thing that can be guaranteed, is unpredictable weather patterns.
Enhancing the biodiversity in your garden is not only beneficial for the environment, it also creates a vibrant and lively space that attracts a variety of wildlife. One way to achieve this is to plant native species. This provides a natural habitat for animals and wildlife. But you don’t need to only stick to native plants. Many plants and flowers are beneficial for wildlife. Choosing single varieties, rather than doubles, helps as they produce more nectar, pollen and of course seeds. Many ornamentals such as single Dahlias, Nepeta, Lavandula and Persicaria will be swarming with insects right now.
Wildlife is a key aspect of biodiversity. Small creatures and insects, such as bees, butterflies, birds, and bats all play a signification part in the garden. They help to transfer pollen which is essential for the fertilisation of flowers and the production of fruit and vegetables, some of which rely on pollination for their production.
You can also further enhance your garden’s biodiversity by creating diverse habitats. For instance, installing bug hotels, bird houses, bat boxes and water features creates shelter for different species.
Encouraging wildlife to the garden not only helps with pollination but also serves as a natural pest deterrent, helping to avoid the use of pesticides. Wildlife such as birds, frogs, and beneficial insects can play a vital role in maintaining the balance of nature, preying on insects that can wreak havoc on your precious plants. Did you know that a single bird can eat more than 100 times it’s own body weight in insects in a year?*
Our last tip to encourage biodiversity is to learn to love a little untidiness in your garden. Leaving your grass cuttings behind can help to protect and mulch your lawn. Letting sticks and other garden matter decay is also useful as they can provide a habitat and ecosystem for a whole range of wildlife including insects and amphibians. Or, if you have the space, composting is not only a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil, but it also plays a crucial role in creating a circular system in your garden.
So, whether it’s planting a colourful array of wildflowers or incorporating a variety of trees and shrubs, making your garden a haven for wildlife is a simple and rewarding way to boost biodiversity.
Here at Helmsley Walled Garden, we are always looking at ways to increase the biodiversity of our environment. We created raised beds, planted full to the brim with wildflowers, to contain a significant area of bindweed. We harvest water where possible and avoid the use of pesticide spays, preferring natural methods. The garden hosts an array of habitats such as bird and bat boxes and we are justly rewarded with gorgeous bird song and a reduction in vegetable and flower-munching insects.
Photograph by Stephen Barstow