Our summer season is an important time of year for many of Ireland’s wildlife. As a wildlife enthusiast I absolutely love gardening for wildlife! It is particularly easy when living in Ireland because of our mild climate and moderate summer seasons!
So I have comprised a list of a few ways that people can optimise their gardens for wildlife habitats this summer!
This is my favourite little way to accommodate for wildlife in the garden! An insect home is pretty much what it sounds like. The purpose of these insect homes are to provide shelter and safety for insects while out in the wild. These ‘boxes’ provide safety against predators such as birds while the insects are out foraging or pollinating!
I bought a great ‘insect hotel’ from Aldi for €9.99 last month and its working pretty well, as far as I have been noticing anyway! I have put the pictures that I posted on Twitter in April below to show you what I am talking about.
I think they really add aesthetic value to the garden and they are a great way to help increase the level of pollination within your garden, as less insects are being preyed on by predators and also insects such as bees can stay out longer by using these insect homes to rest in while out of the hive. Some bee species only stay out to pollinate for 30 minutes at a time as they become tired, among other reasons. Although I have not seen any scientific studies to absolutely say that these boxes help bees to stay out longer, I do think it does help!
2. Hedgehog Huts
These are the best little things! They are little huts that are usually comprised of some grass-looking material that acts as a home to hedgehogs that might live in your garden. By placing these in your garden, especially if you live in an urbanised area, you can help support hedgehogs!
Hedgehogs often travel between gardens at night while foraging or looking for a mate. For this reason, if you have a garden fence or wall, it might be helpful to create a small hole at ground level, to allow hedgehogs to travel between gardens without barriers. This along with providing little hedgehog huts will make your garden a hedgehog haven!
I have provided a few pictures of what I mean by hedgehog huts!
These little homes can be home-made so there’s no need to splash out on luxury hedgehog villas for your garden, but a little hut might go a long way in supporting more biodiversity in your back garden!
I’ve seen lots of these on Amazon which I think are somewhat reasonably priced. Also, I found this website the other day and its adorable. Its called hedgehog street! I’m just not sure what the price range is like for this site but the houses are cute!
3. Bird House
I think every garden needs a lovely little bird house! They just add so much value to a garden both for biodiversity and aesthetic value for the home-owners. Although birds may not take up residence in a bird house straight away, within time you will definitely have a few extra residents in your garden.
There is an endless range of different bird house styles, colours and sizes available in stores and online pretty much everywhere. This is a great thing because it means that these bird houses can be very cheap due to the endless availability on the market. Like hedgehog huts, you can also make bird houses if you have a gift for crafts! Sadly, I am not gifted in this area but I do love a good bird house so I am happy to pick one up if I see a nice one!
Just make sure that it is placed up high in a tree, to prevent predators from getting easy access to the bird house! You can also provide nuts and seeds in the bird house to try help get some birds to nest there but I do suggest using a bird feeder to provide nuts and seeds to birds instead!
4. Den Boxes
This is really only applicable if you live in a more rural part of Ireland or near a woodland area (whether rural or urban). I live in a very urbanised part of Dublin City, but I live within a ten minute walk to a lovely large park full of wildlife!
Den boxes are for pine martens! These boxes provide artificial breeding and nesting sites for pine martens when there is a lack of shelter and opportunity to create a home! The Vincent Wildlife Trust are great for public information on pine martens, they even have an online leaflet explaining how to build a den box! I have linked this information leaflet here!
There can often be a problem with pine martens taking up residency in peoples attics when people live near woodland areas. This can be annoying for the home-owner as pine martens can bring dead animals such as smaller mammals and birds, into the attic and this can often create bad smells and unwanted cleaning up activities!
So if you live in an area near a woodland or an urban park I would suggest investing a small fee in providing a den box in your garden. It is cheap and easy to do! Pine martens are fantastic creatures and need a nice home to care for their young and den boxes are perfect for this!
This can definitely end up being an expensive make-over for your garden, but it doesn’t have to be! There are quite a few ways to make a budget pond and everything you need to do so can be found online through media like YouTube tutorials on how-to’s or Amazon for the right tools needed!
Depending on the size of your garden and what you would prefer yourself, you can make the pond any shape, size or style! It gives you so many options to be as budget-friendly or as luxurious as you would like to be when creating a wildlife-friendly garden!
Ponds make a regular garden becoming a haven for wildlife. A pond can also make a garden more visually attractive, with lots of aesthetic value for the home-owners! Ponds can create a great habitat in urban back-gardens for species such as frogs, toads, newts, beetles, and the list goes on. You can leave a pond without fish or include them. Although Goldfish and Koi are the fish of choice for pretty much every garden pond, I would really advise against non-native species.