Alice, Animals, Celebrations And Holidays, Conservation, Valentine's Day, Wildlife

Conservation has become a hot topic during the past year, so why not try something a little different this Valentine’s Day and give a gift for the garden? Not only are these gifts bound to impress with their originality, but they can also help preserve wild birds and hedgehogs, and support eco-friendly initiatives. So discover our edit of our top garden conservation gifts.

Saltbox Bird House

garden conservation gifts

As holes in trees and buildings are disappearing due to maintenance work, natural nesting sites for birds are on the decline, so garden nest boxes are becoming increasingly important for conserving wild birds. Inspired by traditional coastal saltbox houses, our Saltbox Bird House in plum has a beautiful vintage saltbox design along with inbuilt drainage and ventilation. Purchase as a Valentine’s gift in order to put it up just in time for nesting season!

Kool Kombi Recycled Steel Ice Bucket Cooler

The Kool Kombi Recycled Steel Ice Bucket Cooler is a gift that will be highly appreciated come summer. This quirky drinks cooler is made in Vietnam using recycled oil drums delivering a unique design each time, and providing employment for local workers. Not only is it eco-friendly and socially-conscious, this heavily-insulated design has ample space and can keep drinks cool in high Australian temperatures for up to 4 hours, so will work an absolute treat here in Britain!

Woodland Bird and Ladybird Garden Gift Box

garden conservation gifts

Welcome both birds and ladybirds into your garden with the Woodland Bird and Ladybird Garden Gift Box. This handy set provides a bird nesting pocket, ladybird tower, wildflower seeds, and instructive guide that will enable you to attract diverse wildlife into your garden. These creatures are highly beneficial to your garden, as they help manage pests such as slugs, snails, and aphids to keep your plants healthy.

Igloo Hedgehog Home

Our Igloo Hedgehog Home is a great gift that makes a welcome addition to your garden. Surveys suggest that hedgehog numbers have declined by up to 50% since the turn of the century as hedgerows and field margins are lost to intensive farming, so providing sanctuary in your garden is increasingly important. This wicker habitat offers hedgehogs and other small mammals a safe haven from predators, pets, and garden tools.

Heart Shaped Cast Iron Bird Bath/ Feeder

valentines day gardening gifts

Food supplies often run short for wild birds, particularly during the winter, and fresh water for drinking and bathing can also be hugely beneficial for them. The Heart Shaped Cast Iron Bird Bath/ Feeder is perfectly-themed for Valentine’s Day and adds a quaint touch to your garden. This versatile piece can be used either as a bird feeder or birdbath.

Diamond Blanket/ Throw

valentines day gardening gifts

Get nice and cosy this Valentine’s Day with our Diamond Blanket/ Throw. This stylish blanket is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, an innovative and eco-friendly alternative of reusing waste. The geometric diamond design is finished with tassels for extra flare, and is perfect for cuddling up under both indoors and outdoors.

Wildlife Natural Rock Pond-In-A-Pot Kit

garden conservation gifts

Create a wonderful watering hole for wildlife with our Wildlife Natural Rock Pond-In-A-Pot Kit. One of our top garden conservation gifts, this model creates a great home for frogs, newts, and insects, and provides drinking water for birds and small mammals. This no-hassle kit has everything you need to create a pond in four easy steps, filled with beautiful, wildlife-attracting plant life.

Check out our guide to find out more about how to help wildlife in your garden.

What are you getting your loved one this Valentine’s Day? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

 

Animals, Gary, Wildlife

Bees are the most important pollinator in our ecosystem. One-third of our food supply and 90% of our wildflowers are dependent on the work these animals do, but the loss of habitat and the increased use of pesticides have seen populations decline in recent years. 32% of bee species in the U.K are in decline or threatened and 40% of U.S beekeepers have reported a drop in numbers. Losing any of the UK’S 250 species would have a knock-on effect across the food chain, so it is important to give them as much help as we can. This guide has some great tips on how you can create a garden that is great for bee conservation.

What can I do to help?

It can sometimes feel like there is nothing you can do to have an impact on large scale problems like this, but there are some simple and easy steps that can help to sustain your local bee populations.

Plant Native Wildflowers

Native plants are generally easier to grow because they are already acclimatised to the climate. They are also the plants that your local bees have evolved to pollinate. Having a good variety of native plants is the key to good nutrition in your local bee population and it also encourages them to pollinate the area around your garden, making all the gardens around you healthier and livelier. Native plant seeds can sometimes be found at local farm shops or you can look online for specially selected selections of meadow seeds or specific species seed packs 

Let Your Lawn Grow Naturally 

A bee’s natural habitat is a wild meadow, and some of their favourite plants to pollinate are dandelions and clover, but these don’t grow on well-manicured lawns. Consider letting a portion of your lawn grow naturally – You’ll spend less time mowing, the bees will love it and you might just end up bringing more wildlife into your garden. 

Avoid Chemical Pesticides and Herbicides 

The chemicals in many pesticides and herbicides are harmful to bees, and the rise of commercial food production has had a big impact on their welfare. Avoiding the use of chemical pest control in your own garden can have a big effect on the bee population in your area. Consider using some natural options like a homemade soap and oil spray 

Leave Water Out 

Bee’s get thirsty too, so leaving out water will be a massive help for them. Put out some small bowls of water with pebbles in for them drink from will have them visiting your garden more often, pollinating more and helping your garden. 

Don’t Put Honey or Sugar Water Out

It’s a common belief that you can help by leaving out sugar water or honey for bees, but by doing this you may be inadvertently harming them. Bees are very food at finding what they need to survive, and if they find an easy source of food they will go to it more often and in bigger numbers. Unfortunately, these food sources don’t provide much nutrition and can end up being the source of disease in a hive. The best food you can give a bee is a garden full of flowers 

Build a Bee Hotel

When we think of bees we often think of a thriving hive. But, of the 270 species of bee in the U.K, only twenty live in hives, the rest are solitary. These bees tend to nest in small enclosed areas. You can buy a pre-made habitat for them or if you want to be a bit more hands-on you can build your own bee hotel. It’s easy to do and is a big help to wild populations. 

Helping our pollinators is really important for the health of the natural world around us, and there are a lot of small things you can do in your garden that can have a big impact in overall bee conservation. 

 

Let us know what are you doing to help? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

 

Gary at PrimroseGary works in the Primrose product loading team, writing product descriptions and other copy. With seven years as a professional chef under his belt, he can usually be found experimenting in the kitchen or sat reading a book.

See all of Gary’s posts.

Birds, Conservation, Gary

 

 

The ultimate goal for most gardeners is to have a space that’s teaming with wildlife. A diverse garden is a healthy garden, and birds are an important part of keeping it all balanced. They are the most effective non-chemical method of insect control, they’re pollinators and even take care of some of your weeding; its also really fun to watch them from your window. This guide will go over the basics of creating a garden that will successfully attract birds.

 

Step One – Prepare the space 

 

Just like humans, birds like 5-star accommodation. Before adding bird tables and nesting boxes, you need to first make sure that your garden is somewhere birds want to visit. Below are a few of the first steps you should take to increase your chances of regular visitors

  • Plant the correct trees – trees provide food, water and nesting space for birds as well as being an easy escape from predators. You want to strike a good balance of vegetation in your garden to make it interesting and to satisfy the needs of the birds you want to attract. Fruit trees bearing trees such as Crab apple and plum will provide food and safe space whilst larger species like Oak or Willow are great for shelter. Avoid Sycamores or Cherry trees as they attract insects that  birds don’t

 

  • Be clever with your flowers –  there are an estimated 612 species of bird in the UK, and each one has different food and nesting needs, many are also only active at certain times of the year. Fill your garden with an array of plants that will provide food and nesting material year-round. In summer, try to provide sweet fruits like Blackberries and Mulberries and seeds from sunflowers. In spring you should provide fatty fruits like Mapleleaf and Dogwood whilst autumn and winter should be geared towards persistent fruits like Crabapples and Conifers. By providing year-round food you will see the birds in your garden change with the seasons, keeping it interesting and ever-changing. A list of the best plant choices can be found here

 

  • Place shrubs and plants in same species clumps – in general, this is good practice to help with pollination and fruit yields, but birds love dense foliage to hide in and watch for predators. You will often find that these clumps attract large groups of smaller birds like finches, goldcrests and Wrens. 

 

  • Be insect friendly – inviting insects into your garden may sound counterproductive, but the right species help get rid of pests and aid pollination. You don’t need to worry about the populations getting too big either as they make a tasty snack for lots of bird species. Think about putting a bug hotel, Ladybird tower or Nectar feeder in your garden to establish a healthy and diverse insect species that will attract lots of hungry birds to your garden. 

 

Step Two – Dress it up 

 

Once you have the basics right you can start to add little extras that will keep the birds coming to your garden and make them stay longer. 

 

  • Provide Water –  your plants will provide some water for your birds, but they could always do with a little more. Bird tables are a great way to provide this water as it’s suitable for both drinking and bathing, just ensure that any bird tabes are put close to shrubs so your birds feel safe from predators.

 

  • Make Food Available Year-round – living in the wild is difficult, food is not always available and can cost a lot of energy to obtain. A garden that has a constant and varied supply of food is a win for any passing bird and they will certainly be repeat visitors. You should provide a good mixture of seeds and fat balls that change every now and then to keep birds interested.  

 

  • Put Up Nest Boxes – a garden with ample supplies of food and water is an ideal environment for birds to raise their young. Bird boxes provide shelter and secure living spaces to birds who are rearing their chicks. Place them in trees or up high to protect them from cats and other predators and ensure they are out of direct sunlight. You will get the best results from only putting up 1-2 boxes as many bird species don’t like to compete over feeding and nesting space. 

 

 

Step Three – Make it safe 

A safe garden is one that will bird will return to. Like all animals, if they feel unsafe they will stay away. Providing thick foliage will go some of the ways of doing this, but there are a few small steps you can take to make your garden as safe as possible. 

 

  • Avoid putting food on the ground – It’s best to put any food on a bird table or raised surface as it keeps the food away from competitors or predators.  

 

 

  • Hang bird feeders out of the way – Hang any bird feeders out of the reach of other animals by hanging them from a tree or high place 

 

  • Deter cats from coming into your garden – Birds will sometimes avoid gardens that they know cats often visit. If you don’t want them around consider installing a cat deterrent  

 

Step four – Enjoy the wildlife

 

Following these simple steps will invite birds into your garden year-round bringing your garden to life and giving you a space where something is always going on. How have you made your garden bird-friendly? and what have you seen visiting? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter 

 

 

Gary at PrimroseGary works in the Primrose product loading team, writing product descriptions and other copy. With seven years as a professional chef under his belt, he can usually be found experimenting in the kitchen or sat reading a book.

See all of Gary’s posts.

Alice, Animals, Birds, Conservation, Wildlife

Many species of wild animals are on the decline, including hedgehogs, sparrows, and song thrushes. With an estimated 24 million gardens in the UK, these outdoor spaces have huge potential to nurture an array of creatures. Here are some simple solutions for how to help wildlife in your garden.

how to help wildlife in your garden

Go natural

An immaculate garden with with a tidy lawn, perfectly pruned hedges and every fallen leaf disposed of will impress your neighbours, but isn’t the best way to welcome wildlife. Leaves, weeds, and overgrown shrubs provide shelter for insects, birds, and small mammals. Long grass in particular is a great habitat, so make sure to leave at least a patch of your lawn unmown. Weeds are also a food source for many insects, including butterflies and moths.

Avoid pesticides

Pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides will destroy unwanted pests, however chemicals are not selective: they will also destroy other insects including beneficial pollinators. Even insects such as aphids and slugs can be beneficial in maintaining the food chain. Alternative methods to protect your plants include using a cloche or fleece, companion planting, and using grease bands for trees.

Just add water

A pond is a great way of attracting an array of wildlife into your garden, including frogs, newts, birds, and insects. Make sure to incorporate a sloping bank area so animals can easily step in and out, and avoid adding fish as they eat tadpoles. If you don’t have space for a full-blown pond, a birdbath is a great way of providing drinking and bathing water to wild birds, and make sure to leave a bowl of water for thirsty wildlife on hot days.

Feed the birds

Food supplies for wild birds can run short, particularly in the winter, so it’s a great idea to offer nutrition for our feathered friends. It’s important to stick to a regular feeding schedule as irregular feeding could cause birds to expend energy flying to your garden then find there is no food. Make sure food is kept out of the reach of cats, and some of it is protected to allow small birds to feed in safety. Our range of bird feeders has a range of styles to suit various species and garden styles.

how to help wildlife in your garden

Bee-friendly flowers

Bees are highly beneficial pollinators, however due to the varroa mite and agricultural pesticides, their population is declining. Make your garden a rich food source for these creatures by planting open flowers such as daisies; flowering trees (including fruit trees); and legumes such as beans, peas, sweet peas. Sowing multiple plants in succession rather than occasional plants dotted around your garden works best. You can find out more about bee conservation in this article.

Diversity

A garden full of the same flower species creates a bold display, but isn’t great for wildlife. Growing a range of flowers provides a strong supply of nectar and helps create a healthy ecosystem with a wide range of insects, birds, and mammals.

Animal habitats

Bird nest boxes are a great way of providing shelter for wild birds and protecting them from predators. Our collection includes a variety of models to accommodate various species of bird; from small round-holed boxes for tits to more open styles for robins. There are now more habitat options available for other creatures. Our Hedgehog House Care Pack provides a great hibernation haven, and our Ladybird Tower is perfect for housing beneficial insects. Piles of logs and sticks can also provide shelter for various critters.

Compost

In addition to recycling kitchen waste and enriching the soil, compost can also enhance the bacterial and fungal life in your garden, which provides a base for other wildlife. A compost heap can also provide a home for creatures such as woodlice, worms, and frogs. Check out our guide on how to compost here!

A gap in the fence

Make sure animals such as hedgehogs and frogs can benefit the new wildlife-friendly additions to your garden by making sure your fences have some gaps at the bottom to allow wildlife to move through. This will also help link habitats together. However, if you or one of your neighbours have a dog, ensure that the gap is small enough that the dog cannot escape!

Let us know which adorable creatures have been visiting your garden on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!