Turn your garden into a mini nature reserve with ideas to steal from this BBC Springwatch Garden
Created by award-winning designer Jo Thompson in consultation with wildlife gardener Kate Bradbury, the BBC Springwatch Garden shows how to rewild your outdoor space. One of the stand-out features of the 2019 RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, it's full of ideas to help to halt the decline of the UK’s wildlife, with a range of practical design elements that can attract different species.
“I’m thrilled to be working alongside the Springwatch team to create a garden that [I hope] will inspire visitors as it highlights the notion of urban wildlife corridors, and other elements we can include in our gardens to help wildlife thrive,” said Jo.
Here, we take inspiration from the garden and explain the simple ways you can make your garden more wildlife friendly.
Take a break from mowing your lawn (or a small area of it) to encourage the growth of nectar-rich plants, such as clover. These plants provide a vital food source for pollinators and can make a beautiful feature too.
Feeling adventurous? Add wildflower plug plants or lay an area of wildflower turf for a really wild look that'll attract a greater variety of pollinating insects.
Take a more relaxed approach to weeding and allow selected weeds such as teasel and deadnettle to grow among your planting. This is an easy way to increase the diversity of plants in your garden and welcome native plant species, supplying wildlife with extra nectar, pollen and seedheads, while giving your garden a relaxed and romantic feel.
Bug hotels are a fantastic way to provide shelter for a whole range of insects, while piles of sticks also offer a simple home for small mammals. Use material kept back from pruning your trees and shrubs, arranging the pile as a sculptural focal point among your planting or as a decorative mulch around trees.
Enhance your garden’s wildlife appeal with a well-stocked bird table or feeder. The wider the range of foods on offer – such as the dried fruit and nuts in the picture – the wider the range of feathered friends that will come calling. This addition can add a stylish feature to your garden space, as well as support our native bird populations. Remember that birds are natural predators of insect pests as well.
Start a conversation with your neighbours about what you could do together to support our wildlife. Open up your garden boundaries to create corridors for wildlife and share the responsibility of providing food, shelter and habitats to help preserve our endangered species. When considering garden boundaries, remember that hedges are much more wildlife friendly than fences, especially the type with rigid gravel boards that prevent creatures moving from one garden to another.
Read more about the BBC Springwatch Garden at the 2019 RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.