Garden tips – Planting through the year

To get a garden buzzing, plants are essential. The choice of shrubs, trees, climbers and flowering plants can be mind boggling. Hopefully this blog will give you some tips on what to plant to make your garden the place to be for various garden critters whilst looking great at the same time.

Spring


Spring time is when bumblebees are emerging from hibernation and looking for nectar. To create a bright and nectar rich garden for the spring, plant bulbs in beds, lawns and pots between October and December. Go for a mix of crocus, daffodil and snakes head fritillary. You can also add primrose and cowslip for some extra colour and attractiveness to bees. It’s also the time to get growing from seed.


Summer


The choice for summer flowers is amazing. My top tip would be to avoid ‘double-headed’ varieties, they may look pretty but they are useless for wildlife, and go for the plants that have loads of insects buzzing around them at the garden centre! Look to densely plant your borders and tubs with as wide a variety as possible, this should guarantee plenty of wildlife action. Some to consider include lupin, foxglove, rudbeckia, red valerian, aubretia, yarrow, lavender and my favourites heleniums, also known as sneezeweeds! A great way to help attract wildlife is to create herb beds or planters. Many herbs that we use in cooking are great for bees and butterflies. Marjoram, mint, rosemary and thyme are all worth adding to the garden.


Autumn


Whilst most birds actually nest in spring and summer, the late autumn and winter months are the best time to plant some trees and shrubs to give them safe nesting sites for years to come. Buying them bare rooted in the autumn and winter will save you some money as well. Look to provide a variety of foliage, some evergreen, some deciduous. The hawthorn is a brilliant addition with its prickly branches, dense growth and wildlife appeal. Hazel, privet, willow, yew and holly can all provide homes for nature in the garden and give interest late in the year with nuts, berries, fruit and catkins. You can also plant trees and shrubs in large containers to create shelter on patios and balconies. Choose dwarf fruit trees like crab apple and cherry and soft fruit shrubs like gooseberry and blackcurrant. Try to prolong the flowering season by adding in some Michaelmas daisies, sunflowers and verbenas. The flowers on ivy are a very important autumn flower for insects that are still active.


Winter


Another way of providing shelter year round for birds in all types of gardens is to plant climbers, even in pots. These can hide unsightly walls or fence panels. I recommend the year round dark green foliage of ivy, our native honeysuckle and dog rose. Winter flowering plants are few and far between but winter aconite, winter-flowering honeysuckle and winter box provide some winter interest.


For more ways on how to give nature a home in your garden and to download your free guide, visit rspb.org.uk/homes

 
We all know there is a housing crisis in the UK. Perhaps less well-known, however, is that there is an equally urgent housing crisis facing much of the UK’s threatened wildlife.

The worrying state of things for creatures that call our gardens ‘home’ has encouraged Rightmove to lend our support to the RSPB’s new Giving Nature a Home campaign. The objective is simple: to encourage people across the UK to create a million new homes for nature in their gardens and outdoor spaces.


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