Things to consider in creating a Wildlife Freindly garden
Front gardens are not always thought of as a haven for wildlife and can be very small, making it harder to include features that benefit wildlife. The main thing people can normally do for nature in a front garden is to provide flowering forage for pollinators.
Most ‘bright and blousy’ seasonal bedding plants are bred to produce large, colourful petals which normally means that pollen and nectar are either absent or inaccessible (typically busy lizzies, begonias, petunias, pelargoniums).
Pollinator-friendly bedding plants include:
Snapdragon - Antirrhinum majus
Dahlia (the more simple-petalled ones, not the frillier types)
Million bells - Calibrachoa (like petunias but smaller and with more nectar)
Sweet alyssum - Lobularia maritima
Bacopa - Chaenostoma
Cosmos and sunflowers come in dwarf varieties that can work well
Other good annual flowers:
Marigolds - Calendula
Sweet peas - Lathyrus
Cornfield annuals (poppies, cornflowers, corn marigolds) and other ‘wildflower’ mixes.
Poached egg plant Limnanthes douglasii
Herbs also work well in a small space and might be used in front gardens or containers: Lavender, thyme, chives, oregano/marjoram, rosemary etc.
Most perennial plants have flowers that benefit insects. This includes herbaceous perennials, shrubs and (where space allows) trees. Look out for a series of plants that will flower from spring to autumn and remember that garden plants don’t have to be native; most cultivated plants from the northern hemisphere are of value to UK insects. Also consider that these ‘permanent’ plants are much less resource-intensive as they do not have to be re-grown each year.
Where space allows, other features to look out for include:
Lawns – letting a lawn or even just a patch in the middle grow tall and flowery
Variety of habitat – this can be natural (log piles, hedging) or manmade (bird box, pond)
Pesticides - easy on the weed killer and slug pellets! (though not easy to see)
Use of space - how well is a garden fulfilling its potential for wildlife?