With more time spent at home during lockdown, many people have had more time to spend in their gardens, leading to a rise in interest in the wildlife such as birds, insects and animals that visit. Laois County Council has launched a free new booklet to give suggestions and tips for people to help wildlife in their gardens. Find out how to get this new free guide to create a wildlife haven in your garden, as well as an accompanying colouring book for kids.
No matter how big or small your garden is, it can be an oasis for wildlife, and with small changes you can make your garden even more wildlife-friendly. Make it a fun family activity!
Create a Wildlife Haven in Your Garden
With an estimated 2 million gardens in Ireland alone, making small changes will not only help benefit biodiversity but also time spent in nature is good for our well-being and mental health.
Author of the new guide, Juanita Browne wanted to inspire people to make small changes by creating simple guides to gardening with biodiversity in mind.
Juanita says, “Gardening for biodiversity doesn’t equate to letting your garden go wild, but doing things a little differently. For instance, when choosing plants to buy in a garden centre, perhaps you could choose plants that have insects on their flowers.”
“Or you could create a wildflower strip around your lawn where dandelions, daisies, clover and other wildflowers are allowed to grow. These small changes can bring huge benefits for biodiversity”.
Things to Do in Your Garden for Wildlife
The guide gives ideas for things that can be done easily to improve your garden for butterflies, bees, birds, bats and other wildlife. Many are very easy, for example,
- allowing some of the “gold star plants for biodiversity”, such as bramble, clover, ivy, willow, dandelion, to grow in a space in your garden
- leaving an “untidy” corner of your garden for nature
- letting roadside verges grow naturally rather than mowing them
These can all reap huge dividends for wildlife.
For the more adventurous, the book also has bigger projects to try, such as creating a hedgehog log pile, installing a pond or bog garden, and building a bird bath.
The booklet was produced by Laois County Council with the assistance of Local Authority Heritage Officers across Ireland, with support from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Heritage Council. It was funded by the Department for Housing, Local Government and Heritage as part of an initiative to encourage projects under the National Biodiversity Plan,
The guide offers gardeners lots of options to help our biodiversity, with tasks suitable for a range of expertise from beginner to DIY enthusiast. Each project has instructions and step-by-step drawings by illustrator Barry Reynolds.
Where to Get the Free Guide and Kids Colouring Book
The free “Gardening for Biodiversity” guide is available to download here.
There’s also a free Biodiversity in your Garden Colouring Book available as a companion to the guide, which has child-friendly information on garden wildlife and colouring pages using Barry Reynolds’ fun illustrations.
Free hard copies may also be ordered from your Local Authority Heritage Office.