Helping to boost wildlife in the garden

A boys playing hide and seek in the garden. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
A boys playing hide and seek in the garden. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

Gardening writer Hannah Stephenson gives her tips on how to encourage your children - and wildlife - into the garden.

Adam Frost has already urged people to think about wildlife at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, but the gold medal-winning garden designer isn’t done with his campaigning yet.

He is now urging parents to get their children into the great outdoors this summer and help reverse the decline of British wildlife.

The State of Nature report, carried out by a coalition of conservation organisations, recently revealed that 60% of British wildlife is in decline, while at the same time, a further research found two thirds of British school children want to be taught more about gardening and to engage with the outdoors.

Adam, who designed the Homebase ‘Sowing The Seeds Of Change’ garden at the RHS Chelsea Flow Show, said: “I have four children aged between six and 16, who all have a keen interest in nature.

“The garden is at the heart of our home, where many memories are made while children are growing up.

“I’ve spent lots of time with my own children both in my own garden and in the wider countryside. We do things together like going on country walks, growing and picking fruit and bird spotting - the list is endless.”

Encouraged by these thoughts, Frost has now come up with a plan for parents on how to bring their children into the garden and to attract wildlife at the same time.

Create a planting plan. Mix together plants that are both beneficial to people and wildlife, such as fruits, vegetables and herbs, with shrubs and perennial herbaceous plants, to create an area where there is produce for humans and wildlife.

Grow a selection of salad crops. This requires regular attention and will give children something to focus on right up until they eat them.

Go seed collecting. Look closely for plants in your borders where flower heads have fallen off and seeds are growing. If the seeds are brown, get the children to help you pick them and put them in a warm place to dry out ready to plant for next spring.

Create a compost heap. This is a great way of encouraging kids to recycle garden waste and also helps them understand the natural cycle of growth and decay. Create three tightly fixed walls in your chosen area and begin filling it with organic materials.