Bringing wildlife closer to home

PUBLISHED: 12:59 29 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:54 28 May 2010

I ve been doing quite a lot of travelling around the country this year in pursuit of a few butterflies and plants that I haven t seen before, taking me from the North Kent Downs to the Solway Firth and the Lake District the furthest tip of Cornwall, follo

I've been doing quite a lot of travelling around the country this year in pursuit of a few butterflies and plants that I haven't seen before, taking me from the North Kent Downs to the Solway Firth and the Lake District the furthest tip of Cornwall, following a plan I drew up over winter.

It is great to see new things and this particular pursuit enables me to see all kinds of wonderful places and different habitats.

My other big wildlife 'project' this year has been setting up a wildlife garden in my new home and this has brought me all kinds of pleasure much closer to home!

I am a little impatient when it comes to the establishment of the necessary cover and keep checking to see if my trees have grown another inch or whether the pondweed has managed to increase.

There is no doubt, though, that even in the space of a few short months, an awful lot has improved in what used to be a rather unhealthy and uncared for patch of grass (I wouldn't really call it a lawn) and not much else.

It has really brought home the message that gardens are very, very important places for wildlife. If everyone who had a garden did just a few of the things I have done then a huge area of wildlife-friendly habitat would be in place.

It already is actually, as so many British people, and readers of this column, love to attract wildlife into their home and garden.

The pond has been one of my most rewarding projects. Frogs wasted little time in taking up residence and all manner of flying insects have laid their eggs in the water.

I have also really enjoyed the establishment and growth of the two trees I bought and planted to complement the existing well-established birch that complements the pond.

A rowan, or mountain ash, and a 'John Downie' crab apple (one of the most valuable wildlife trees) have taken well and are already providing some much-needed structure and cover. A bit of hard graft has been well rewarded.

In a sense, it has been a lot more enjoyable because of the fact that nothing of benefit to wildlife really existed before and I get to see, and enjoy, every single new colonist and watch the development of what I hope will become a small, but useful, mini nature reserve.

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