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Gardening for wildlife

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Total number of topics in this forum: 48

Wildlife friendly bird protection

Question from tania oddi

Last year I found a small bird had flown into my gooseberry netting, got caught and died. It was very sad and I do not want a repeat of this, this year. Has anyone got some tips on netting safely?

  • Views: 703
  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Thu. 21st April 2016 07:59
  • Last reply: Fri. 22nd April 2016 17:59

Rhianathus Minor- Yellow Rattle experiences

General post from Fiona

Last Autumn I cut a small area of a much larger meadow and sowed the area with Yellow Rattle as an experiment. I wanted to find out how effectively Yellow Rattle could reduce the vigorous grasses in order to encourage wild flower growth rather than having to resort to removing the topsoil. Over the winter, new grass has grown on my little patch and it is noticeably less vigorous - but I didn't associate the growth with the yellow rattle I thought it was part of the normal process as the ground had been left quite bare. Today however I have noticed that the grasses on the area outwith that which I had cut has also reduced in vigour. There are no obvious signs that the rattle has germinated - no seed leaves are visible - would it be normal to see such an effect before the seed leaves appear?

  • Views: 403
  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Mon. 14th March 2016 17:06
  • Last reply: Sat. 1st April 2017 06:33

Is it too late to sow wildflower seed?

Comment from Ella

Hi, I've an area of lawn I want to destroy in order to plant native Irish wildflower seed. Is it too late in the year to do this, and if so, when is the best time to do it?
Thank you!

  • Views: 911
  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Thu. 8th May 2014 13:54
  • Last reply: Thu. 8th May 2014 14:07

yellow rattle

Question from Claudia

I understand that yellow rattle is normally sown in Autumn so that it has a period of cold winter weather before it germinates.
Would I have any luck sowing it now (Feb) as the cold weather is still to come? This is for my wild area.
Thank you.

  • Views: 557
  • Replies: 5
  • Posted: Tue. 11th February 2014 16:14
  • Last reply: Sat. 1st April 2017 06:39

Wildflower meadow turf

Comment from Liz Duffell

Hi all, I'm not a very experienced gardener so could really use your help! We brought our house just over 3 years ago and 2 weeks after moving in, I gave birth to our eldest girl Isobel. Since that day we've added a son and a tortoise to the mix, I work part time and my husband works full time AND is doing a part time degree with the OU (very proud wife). Skip to the end, and we've done absolutely nothing to garden!

The garden in long and thin is mainly lawn on the sides with flower beds around the edge which had become jungle (pretty sure I saw Tarzan swinging in there one weekend), so we covered them in weed matting and bark chips 2 years ago, to give ourselves a blank canvass. There are some larger shrub like plants there but I have no lasting love for them, there only survived so the birds had somewhere to hide. The only thing that I don't want to lose is a cider apple tree that I got the husband for his b'day. Now the youngest is a little bit older I'm feeling like I have a bit more energy to so something with the canvass but I'm left feeling very overwhelmed and lost when I look at the space.

Our priorities are that it's safe for kids, looks nice, is low maintenance and wildlife friendly. I really like the idea of wild flower meadow, and found an internet site (well several sites) that do turf, but I don't have the confidence to go for it. So this is where you lovely lot come in, is this a good idea? Do you have any better ideas? Have you had the turf? What are the problems? Will the meadow spread across the whole garden in 2 years? Can I prevent this? Will the shrub plants prevent the meadow from growing?... so many questions! Please help, answer as if you are talking to a 4 year old about it, and don't refrain from telling me the obvious as I'm sure it won't be obvious to me! 4 years of baby brain have taken their toll!

Happy to take photos of the area if people think it will help to see it, although I should warn you, its not pretty.

Thanks in advance!

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  • Replies: 8
  • Posted: Sun. 11th August 2013 07:57
  • Last reply: Sat. 1st April 2017 06:43

Found what I think was a slow worm this afternoon.

Comment from Tim Aiton

It was about 10inches long, bronze in appearance with black lines down its length and was dry to the touch.

A photo is attached.

  • Views: 535
  • Replies: 2
  • Posted: Thu. 25th July 2013 14:18
  • Last reply: Thu. 25th July 2013 15:11

double and single flowers how do you know?

Question from Deirdre


I'm a novice gardener who is interested in starting a wildlife garden. I have a long wish list of wildlife friendly plants after some research and thanks to this amazing website!

I know that the best flowers for wildlife are single flowers rather than double but how do you know if they are single or double? Before you buy? (It would be a great feature if it could be added to the plant descriptions on the website!)

Also I would love some suggestions for a shrub (possibly evergreen, beginner level) that would bear berries from early winter to late spring that birds would love (I have holly on my wish list as one option but i'd love to give the birds more choice!)

Thanks eveyone :-)

  • Views: 879
  • Replies: 4
  • Posted: Tue. 21st August 2012 12:42
  • Last reply: Sat. 11th May 2013 19:07


Question from Sue West

Can anyone identify this little butterfly we saw in the garden. It was about half the size of a typical butterfly and vivid red. Had to take the picture quickly as it would not sit still!

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  • Replies: 3
  • Posted: Tue. 19th June 2012 19:10
  • Last reply: Mon. 25th March 2013 16:54

Autumn scent climber to disguise smell of chickens and rabbits!

General post from Chris Price

Hello all,
I was hoping someone may be able to help recommend an Autumn fragrant climbing type plant to go over/around our chicken and rabbit run. At this time of year with the amount of rain coming down it becomes a bit of a bog in some areas of the run and can be a bit smelly.
Most of the plants I have looked at seem to be summer smelling.
Any recommendations greatly appreciated.

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  • Replies: 6
  • Posted: Tue. 22nd November 2011 17:34
  • Last reply: Thu. 24th November 2011 17:21

Red squirrels

Comment from ChaffinFencing

The native Red squirrels were once a common sight across the mainland of Britain, now they are sparsely situated around Scotland, and places thought to be inaccessible to the greys, such as the Isle or Wight and Anglesey. In fact more then 75% of Britain’s estimated 160,000 red squirrels are found in Scotland.
Now they could become extinct in the next 20 years, as their population has dropped 50% in the last 50 years.
Grey squirrels carry a virus called the ‘pox virus’, first discovered in Scotland in 2005, which they (the greys are immune to) but it causes deadly to the reds.
Pox disease and the loss of much woodland over the UK have contributed to their decline.
The red squirrel is facing a long tiring battle against the grey’s that are spreading this virus rapidly.

Red squirrels are most at home amongst sweet chestnut, wild cherry, hazel and beech trees, they prefer to travel within the tree canopies rather then the woodland grounds, unlike to grey squirrels.

They are highly adapted to the woodland habitat in which they live, with their lightweight bodies, long claws, and bushy tails for balance
Their ability to climb, swing and jump is actually incredible. You may of seen a squirrel in the past and noticed that it freezes when it has seen you move, they often stay frozen like that for up to 10 minutes, until they believe its safe to move again.

They build up large nests called ‘dreys’ made up of twigs, leaves moss and hair, in the forks or trunks of their chosen tree, and this is where they will bread and spend a lot of their nocturnal time when not out looking for food.

Their diet consists of seed, shrubs, nuts, shoots, flowers, and the odd birds egg if they are lucky enough to come across. Which they can be right or left handed when eating. They need to eat daily to keep up their energies, if not then they quickly succumb to starvation and disease. The autumn food harvest is vital for their survival throughout the winter months.
They typically live

  • Views: 595
  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Thu. 27th October 2011 11:27
  • Last reply: Wed. 13th June 2012 20:25