Hi this is Jill from the Wild Bunch with our latest column.
What a glorious summer we have had. But it did take its toll on our gardens and the natural world. As a consequence, wildlife has really suffered from the effects of heat and drought.
As we think about preparing our gardens for the winter, it is a good time to consider what we can do to make our gardens more resilient in the coming years. The heat and lack of rain has meant that many of the plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife have struggled to survive. So, what can we do in future to give our gardens and wildlife a better chance?
We can observe what plants have fared best in drought conditions in the gardens we pass and plant some into our own borders. Mediterranean plants, like lavender, rosemary and salvias (sage), originate in hot dry areas and are all favourites with bees, butterflies and insects. Succulents, such as sedums, store water in their leaves giving them a better chance of survival. Hardy geraniums did well in my garden as did verbenas and marguerites. Plants with open flower heads are the best for feeding insects.
Experts advise against being too tidy. Leaving fading growth and fallen leaves provides shelter for wildlife. Mulching will allow the soil to retain moisture. Piles of twigs and leaves are welcome refuges so resist the temptation to trim and clean up.
Make sure there is water available for birds and insects all year round. If you haven’t got a pond, put out shallow bowls with pebbles in to give birds and insects a place to drink and cool down in the autumn sun. Instal water butts to save rainfall for watering and apply water at the base of plants.
Join the Wild Bunch to find out what you can do to support our wild neighbours, visit the Wild Bunch page.