It seems the most natural thing in the world to garden with rather than against wildlife. I love (almost) all the wildlife we get in the garden. When we came here, it was a bit of an agricultural desert – no bees, few butterflies, not many birds. The first thing I did was to sow a nectar area of wild & garden flowers to attract some pollinating insects. Now we grow so many flowers, the whole site is buzzing with life.
We have sowed a small meadow under young fruit trees and this is alive with insects, moths and birds. We cut it by hand for hay, at staggered timings to maximise biodiversity. On top of this, we have made a pond, planted native hedges, use lots of clover, mix in with loads of flowers – all of which benefit wildlife & provide habitats for helpful insects, amphibians and so on.
We do not use any big machinery on the garden and do not use chemical pesticides. We do everything by hand, use no-dig methods & use lots of mulches of different types to protect & improve soil, reduce weeds & save water. We compost on quite a big scale and are trialling some different techniques.
Already, within our second year on site, we have lots more insects – especially ladybirds, bumble bees & moths, some more birds – including swallows nesting in the shed, and froglets around the pond. This is a glorious setting, surrounded by hills, woodland & water, and it is wonderful to occasionally feel slightly overwhelmed by nature.