Encouraging wildlife into your garden is easy and rewarding, and in this era of declining natural habitat and climate change, it's well worth doing something to create wildlife habitats in your garden. There are two main factors to consider - Features for wildlife and Pests.

Features for a wildlife garden
The more diverse your garden, the wider the range of wildlife you will attract. For example:
A pond is probably the most wildlife valuable feature you can incorporate into a garden. It provides important drinking water for birds and mammals, and is home to many amphibians and invertebrates that rely on water for parts of their lifecycle. If you are concerned about the safety of young children, opt for a marshy area instead.
A deadwood pile left in a corner of your garden will provide a useful micro-habitat for a myriad of invertebrates and fungi as the timber goes through its natural and often beautiful process of decay.
Artificial shelters can help replace some of the natural nesting sites, hibernating areas and other forms of natural shelter that we are now lacking. Bird boxes, bat boxes, hedgehog houses, bumble bee and ladybird shelters are just some of the manufactured items you can incorporate into your garden to make it more appealing to your wild visitors.
Borders and beds can add a huge amount of value to a garden when planted with species that produce berries, seeds and nectar-rich flowers. Include winter/early spring-flowering plants to help early-waking bumblebees, and winter berry-producing plants for the birds. Include plenty of native species.
Wild About Gardens: This is a joint project between the Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Horticultural Society which aims to bring the world of gardening and nature conservation closer together.
The Somerset Wildlife Trust has a wildlife gardening group, which aims to promote awareness of gardens as havens for wildlife in a era of declining natural habitat and climate change. They provide free services to the general public such as open gardens, coverage and organisation of local events, speakers on gardening and a garden assessment service to individuals and other organisations and authorities. They also hold workshops, training days and talks. You can also call 01823 652400 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
The a RSPB has an online wildlife garden guide with lots of information about attracting birds and other wildlife to the garden.

Garden pests
Pesticide is the general term used for any pest-controlling chemical and includes herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Even the 'safest' and most targeted pesticides will adversely affect non-target species in some way. For example, certain 'safe' brands of weed killer contain detergent-type chemicals that will directly affect some non-target species such as frogs and newts. These amphibians rely on a thin layer of water on their skin to exchange gases, and may suffocate as detergents disperse this water. The removal of a food source or poisoning of the potential food source of another species can also indirectly affect the entire food chain through starvation or build up of toxins. So, pesticides really should be avoided.

Garden Organic, the organic growing charity is dedicated to researching and promoting organic gardening, farming and food. Their website offers advice and information on organic pest controls, and has an online shop, or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 024 7630 3517.