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Gardening for wildlife

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Total number of topics in this forum: 50

long grass areas when to cut

General post from linda

we have wild areas in our communal garden that we want wild flowers to grow next year. when should it be cut as it is dying back?. I have yellow rattle seeds and a mixture of wild flower seeds to scatter when should they be sown?

  • Views: 345
  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Wed. 1st September 2021 13:38
  • Last reply: Wed. 1st September 2021 15:55

what is this plant please?

Photo from jeannie ludlam

It looks at first similar to a nettle, but it does not sting.

  • Views: 555
  • Replies: 4
  • Posted: Mon. 6th April 2020 12:39
  • Last reply: Thu. 15th July 2021 15:27

Wildlife friendly bird protection

Question from tania oddi

Last year I found a small bird had flown into my gooseberry netting, got caught and died. It was very sad and I do not want a repeat of this, this year. Has anyone got some tips on netting safely?

  • Views: 951
  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Thu. 21st April 2016 07:59
  • Last reply: Fri. 22nd April 2016 17:59

Rhianathus Minor- Yellow Rattle experiences

General post from Fiona

Last Autumn I cut a small area of a much larger meadow and sowed the area with Yellow Rattle as an experiment. I wanted to find out how effectively Yellow Rattle could reduce the vigorous grasses in order to encourage wild flower growth rather than having to resort to removing the topsoil. Over the winter, new grass has grown on my little patch and it is noticeably less vigorous - but I didn't associate the growth with the yellow rattle I thought it was part of the normal process as the ground had been left quite bare. Today however I have noticed that the grasses on the area outwith that which I had cut has also reduced in vigour. There are no obvious signs that the rattle has germinated - no seed leaves are visible - would it be normal to see such an effect before the seed leaves appear?

  • Views: 788
  • Replies: 2
  • Posted: Mon. 14th March 2016 17:06
  • Last reply: Sat. 23rd May 2020 16:01

Is it too late to sow wildflower seed?

Comment from Ella

Hi, I've an area of lawn I want to destroy in order to plant native Irish wildflower seed. Is it too late in the year to do this, and if so, when is the best time to do it?
Thank you!

  • Views: 1093
  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Thu. 8th May 2014 13:54
  • Last reply: Thu. 8th May 2014 14:07

yellow rattle

Question from Claudia

I understand that yellow rattle is normally sown in Autumn so that it has a period of cold winter weather before it germinates.
Would I have any luck sowing it now (Feb) as the cold weather is still to come? This is for my wild area.
Thank you.

  • Views: 734
  • Replies: 5
  • Posted: Tue. 11th February 2014 16:14
  • Last reply: Sat. 1st April 2017 06:39

Wildflower meadow turf

Comment from Liz Duffell

Hi all, I'm not a very experienced gardener so could really use your help! We brought our house just over 3 years ago and 2 weeks after moving in, I gave birth to our eldest girl Isobel. Since that day we've added a son and a tortoise to the mix, I work part time and my husband works full time AND is doing a part time degree with the OU (very proud wife). Skip to the end, and we've done absolutely nothing to garden!

The garden in long and thin is mainly lawn on the sides with flower beds around the edge which had become jungle (pretty sure I saw Tarzan swinging in there one weekend), so we covered them in weed matting and bark chips 2 years ago, to give ourselves a blank canvass. There are some larger shrub like plants there but I have no lasting love for them, there only survived so the birds had somewhere to hide. The only thing that I don't want to lose is a cider apple tree that I got the husband for his b'day. Now the youngest is a little bit older I'm feeling like I have a bit more energy to so something with the canvass but I'm left feeling very overwhelmed and lost when I look at the space.

Our priorities are that it's safe for kids, looks nice, is low maintenance and wildlife friendly. I really like the idea of wild flower meadow, and found an internet site (well several sites) that do turf, but I don't have the confidence to go for it. So this is where you lovely lot come in, is this a good idea? Do you have any better ideas? Have you had the turf? What are the problems? Will the meadow spread across the whole garden in 2 years? Can I prevent this? Will the shrub plants prevent the meadow from growing?... so many questions! Please help, answer as if you are talking to a 4 year old about it, and don't refrain from telling me the obvious as I'm sure it won't be obvious to me! 4 years of baby brain have taken their toll!

Happy to take photos of the area if people think it will help to see it, although I should warn you, its not pretty.

Thanks in advance!

  • Views: 1484
  • Replies: 8
  • Posted: Sun. 11th August 2013 07:57
  • Last reply: Sat. 1st April 2017 06:43

Found what I think was a slow worm this afternoon.

Comment from Tim Aiton

It was about 10inches long, bronze in appearance with black lines down its length and was dry to the touch.

A photo is attached.

  • Views: 750
  • Replies: 2
  • Posted: Thu. 25th July 2013 14:18
  • Last reply: Thu. 25th July 2013 15:11

double and single flowers how do you know?

Question from Deirdre


I'm a novice gardener who is interested in starting a wildlife garden. I have a long wish list of wildlife friendly plants after some research and thanks to this amazing website!

I know that the best flowers for wildlife are single flowers rather than double but how do you know if they are single or double? Before you buy? (It would be a great feature if it could be added to the plant descriptions on the website!)

Also I would love some suggestions for a shrub (possibly evergreen, beginner level) that would bear berries from early winter to late spring that birds would love (I have holly on my wish list as one option but i'd love to give the birds more choice!)

Thanks eveyone :-)

  • Views: 1078
  • Replies: 4
  • Posted: Tue. 21st August 2012 12:42
  • Last reply: Sat. 11th May 2013 19:07


Question from Sue West

Can anyone identify this little butterfly we saw in the garden. It was about half the size of a typical butterfly and vivid red. Had to take the picture quickly as it would not sit still!

  • Views: 979
  • Replies: 3
  • Posted: Tue. 19th June 2012 19:10
  • Last reply: Mon. 25th March 2013 16:54