Choose the right flowers
Flowers provide pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other insects that perform vital fertilisation of seed, cereal, fruit and vegetables. Avoid big or double flowers, such as double Daffodils and Double Dahlias, as the nectar will often be obstructed by the petals and some are sterile.
Choose plants that provide pollen and nectar for as long a season as possible, for bees who venture out early in the year – Large Flowering Crocus are ideal, through to Dahlias which flower through the summer and into early autumn. Bees are particularly partial to purple flowers, so lavender and alliums are great choices too.
Grow a mix of trees and shrubs
Grow a range of trees, shrubs and climbers, or a mixed hedge as these provide food and shelter for all sorts of wildlife. Larger plants, particularly trees, support more wildlife in several ways; they provide food in the form of flowers, fruits and seeds and they provide cover and nesting sites for insects and birds.
Small trees and shrubs that are good for blossom and berries include rowan, crab apple, elder, blackthorn and hawthorn and fruit trees support a range of wildlife, simultaneously providing for them while also supplying you with a useful crop.
Look after mature trees
Maybe your garden is too small for big trees, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get some planted in your neighbourhood, and protect those that are already there – large street trees provide a vital habitat for a range of wildlife that will visit nearby gardens while foraging. Wildlife rarely respects garden boundaries: try to see your garden as part of a wider web of green space.
Don’t be too tidy
Piles of leaves and twiggy debris provide food and habitat for many species. Piles of stones also make good habitat, particularly for hibernating reptiles and amphibians – you can tuck them away in hidden corners, or even behind a shed or garage. Leaving perennials uncut over winter, means that the hollow stems can shelter hibernating insects.