Small is beautiful

Even the smallest of gardens can provide a rich habitat for wildlife. Zoe Kent explains more...

In our ever growing and fast paced world, it is sometimes easy to overlook the small things; the beautiful moments and experiences in life that really matter. That first cup of tea in the morning as the sun’s rays are just starting to peek through the window. The sound of a chiff-chaff merrily calling from his tree-top perch, the soft yellow folds of a primrose emerging from its wintery sleep.  

The same can be said when it comes to our gardens – just because we do not have much room, small doesn’t mean they can’t be a haven for wildlife.

My own garden is only a very narrow strip so to make more of the room we have, we use the space vertically aswell as in the more traditional ground and border space.

Our old makeshift willow fencing is now an amass of ivy, providing habitat for beetles, spiders, aphids and weevils as well as much needed food for hornets, honeybees and red admiral butterflies later in the year.

One side of our fence is covered in honeysuckle and in the morning it is swarming with several species of bee, some of which have taken up residence in a disused chimney that connects our house with our neighbours. The butterflies appreciate the small pots of buddleia that we have planted and the muscari along our borders provide yet more early seasonal food for all manner of pollinators. 

We leave the moss alone in our small patch of grass which comes in very handy for the great tits who have taken up residence in next doors birdbox.

Our neighbours to the other side have astroturfed their entire garden meaning that we have to work a little harder to attract nature in and compensate for the largely barren space.

As we all have a little more time on our hands than usual at the moment, our gardens will ever-increasingly be our haven in which to enjoy the sun and get some fresh air so why not look around and see what you can do to make you garden more wildlife friendly? With every corner brings a possibility and you never know who you may have come and visit.  

There are some great resources available to help you interact with nature and maximise the space you have. Everything from how to plant a container garden and making a small pond out of a washing up bowl, to making a hedgehog hole or a bug mansion - head over and have a look - https://www.essexwt.org.uk/actions

Big or small, modern or old, nature will always find a way to take over. If you build it – they will come.