A wildlife garden so busy during lockdown


My garden pond

 I have been retired now for six years and before that I never really thought about encouraging wildlife in the garden. Life was just too busy. We’ve had a pond in the garden since we moved in and I always thought I was doing my bit. However, when I took up photography and bird watching, I began to take more interest. As you can see above I added a few plants and reeds to give the wildlife cover. Sure enough, the wildlife increased and they began to breed .

Newts, frogs, water snails, damselflies and dragonflies.

(Click on images individually to get a better image)


Flowering reeds are are great for bees and hoverflies.

As a very amateur photographer, bird feeders are very important to me ; they provide easy access to birdlife. With bird feeders you have to experiment and persevere with both the food and feeders in oerder to attract a range of birds. In my garden in Essex, sunflower seeds are great, as are fat balls and peanuts. One seed that simply doesn’t work where I live are Niger seeds but try them.


Click on images for names of birds and seed.

Along with the feeders I have added a few birdboxes, bird baths and two wooden posts to encourage woodpeckers.

Old logs make great places to perch.

When placing your feeders it’s important to have some cover for the more timid birds; I placed mine on my apple tree and some in the open as above. From the tree, birds can drop down easily and in the open some feel safer by seeing that there are no predators around.

As you can see above trees give great cover.

Many birds are ground feeders though I personally do not put food down on the ground; Instead I let ground feeders, like wood pigeons, eat up the spillage from above. If you put food on the ground you will get rodents . One or two are fine but you don’t really want a plague of rats which will upset the neighbours!

The habitat around the borders is very important for wildlife,too. Untended grassy areas, brambles and nettles give cover, shelter, and provide insects to feed upon. My garden provides no real nesting oppotunities as we have a very old cat ,who will ,through instinct try to attack fledglings that hit the ground. If I wanted to encourge nesting I would plant some thick bushes and taller trees.

I have introduced a squirrel box in the garden because they can damage the bird feeders. I got mine from “watchmy garden”and it works really well.

Watchmygarden squirrel boxes.

I don’t have many flowers but those I have attract plenty of insects and pollinators and are in action all day long. Lavender is a particular favorite as is Buddlea.The apple tree blossoms in spring and provides apples for the parakeets in summer through to early winter.Two years ago I planted rowan trees and hawthorn as they provide blackbirds with plenty of food and there is also a chance of attracting a waxwing .On one side of the garden I have no solid fence , only a living fence to let wildlife travel between gardens.I learnt about this in Costa Rica where wildlife and thriving ecosysytems are actively encouraged.

Since lockdown, the garden has become very important to me and I have discovered new animals. A fox comes every evening; also I saw my first hedgehog in twenty years!

One thing I have noticed which has become fairly common is the cutting down of trees in our neighborhood.When  the neighbour next door cut down an enormous leylandi, I lost a goldcrest and firecrest which often visited the garden – such a shame. So please don’t cut down trees and educate those who wish to do so.

Finally the new visitors to my garden, a hedgehog, a fox and a bat :

Happy days ; I will undoubtedly have missed lots of ideas so please feel free to comment.


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