Gardening: Create your own wildlife haven

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Your own back garden provides the perfect place for watching wildlife and helps with general pest and disease maintenance.

However, it’s also proven that gardens – both large and the majority of small gardens throughout the country – are vital for the survival of Scotland’s wildlife.

Simple changes to the way you garden, such as planting nectar-rich flowers or berry-producing shrubs will create natural habitats in the garden and welcome wildlife such as birds, bees, butterflies and even badgers and hedgehogs.

Luke Chamberlain, horticultural manager at Dobbies Garden World Edinburgh, gives his advice to encourage the wild ones into your garden.

He says: “Set up a bird feeding table and keep it well stocked with a range of foods to attract a wider variety of birds to your garden.

“Try different seeds and mixes, as well as treats such as suets and dried mealworms. Plant nectar-rich flowers for bees and butterflies and use organic pest control, as chemical pesticides may harm more than unwelcome pests. And to ensure you look after the birds all year round plant berry-producing shrubs.”

Luke also advises how to attract more than bees, butterflies and birds.

He says: “Build a rockery and fill it with plants where frogs and newts, among other species, will find gaps in natural rocks and take up residence. “Also, to ensure a safe passage and shelter for hedgehogs and other small animals, plant a hedgerow.”

Here are some plants for attracting wild ones:

• Honeysuckle: shrub with berries for birds and flowers which produce nectar.

• Buddleia: the ultimate attraction for butterflies.

• Centaura scabiosa: the seeds provide food for birds and other wildlife.

• Ivy: very valuable plant for wildlife – providing berries and nectar.

• Hawthorn: deciduous tree produces fragrant flowers in spring, followed by glossy dark red fruit.