Your garden should be buzzing with insects and the sound of nesting birds as the weather warms up this month! Plants will come into bloom and the hedgerows, lanes and gardens are filled with the scent of flowers blossoming.
Keep an eye out for where the birds are nesting in your garden and try to keep your distance so you don’t disturb them. Keep your eyes peeled for the first little chicks poking their heads out and demanding food from their parents. You can put out soft foodstuffs such as fresh mealworms, soaked sultanas, raisins and mild grated cheese. Avoid putting out whole peanuts or bread as chicks can choke on them. As always, make sure there’s a supply of fresh water for birds to bathe in and drink. To find out more about feeding birds, check out our video here.
If you have a pond, look out for tadpoles as they wiggle around, as well as early damselflies emerging on pond side vegetation. You can add new floating plants to your pond at this time of year. Make sure you have a small ramp or sloping sides to your pond so hedgehogs and other animals can get out if they stumble in! You could even have a go at pond dipping to see what’s lurking in your pond. Find out how in our video!
If you don’t have a pond, dot a variety of containers around your garden and keep them topped up with water. All your garden wildlife, from small mammals to birds and insects will be in need of a good drink in the warm weather. Make sure that dishes are shallow so that insects can crawl out of them.
The Lawn and Meadow
If you want to mow your lawn, adjust your mower blades so the cut is higher than 10cm. Try to leave a few long bits around the edges so that the ground dwelling mammals and insects have somewhere to hide from predators whilst they move around the garden. Leaving your lawn long will mean that dandelions, daisies and other wild plants will have a chance to grow. They may be seen as weeds, but to bees and other insects they provide a wonderful source of food! If you have a big enough garden keep one area permanently long and sow with meadow flowers. You’ll only need to cut it twice a year, once at the beginning of the season and again at the end when the seeds have set. It’s virtually maintenance free and great for wildlife. You can find out how to grow a wildflower meadow in our video here.
What to Plant
- Bluebells, wild garlic and celandine carpet the shaded ground and provide much needed nectar for pollinating bumblebees, butterflies and moths
- Clear the flower borders. Get fid of any dead foliage from last year and get rid of any dead bits of wood
- Divide primroses. Any major clumps in the garden can be dug up and divided now that the flowering season is over,
- Help insects such as bees, moths and butterflies by creating a mixed herb patch. Whether you have only a container garden or several acres free for wildlife, establishing an aromatic herb garden will provide a food station for our foraging invertebrates. You can mix herbs such as borage, lemon balm and lavender within your flower borders for added scent. Plant sage and you may well find that your local sparrows home in on it as they prefer to line their nests with its aromatic leaves!
- Plant lavender amongst your roses as it’s supposedly a natural deterrent to greenfly and keeps them at bay
- Plant as many different species of mint you can find. Try creating a mint container area in your garden, as mint is just as attractive to moths and butterflies as buddleia!
- May is a good time to think about your hedges and what trees and shrubs you might want to establish. Have a look at our hedgerow article for some ideas!
If you’d like even more ideas, try visiting your local woodland patch to see what’s blooming for inspiration!