(Above) Brigit Strawbridge one of our Make Wildlife Welcome heroes
About Brigit - our newest Make Wildlife Welcome hero!
Brigit's profile on twitter says "Love this planet. Hate what we are doing to it. Trying to help by raising awareness & sharing info about the importance of biodiversity...especially bees". We think that beautifully sums up what Brigit is about. You've also probably seen Brigit on TV - she was in the series It's Not Easy Being Green and only last month was seen on Gardeners' World showing Carol Klein around her bee-friendly garden in Dorset. You can also read Brigit's blog and follow her on twitter at @B_Strawbridge
Make Wildlife Welcome is all about doing something extra for wildlife, with whatever outside space is available to you. Tell us about some of your most creative ideas to make wildlife welcome in the unlikeliest of places.
Brigit: It's easy to get carried away buying beautiful bird boxes and bee hotels from garden centres, but it's just as easy, and a lot more fun, to use broken household items that you might otherwise have discarded. Old pieces of corrugated iron and off-cuts of carpet placed in quiet, sunny positions provide much needed sanctuaries for grass snakes and slow worms, whilst disused air bricks placed on south facing walls make ideal nesting blocks for solitary bees.
I know of a Robin nesting in an old kettle rammed between a garage and a garden shed, and I'm experimenting with an upturned teapot, stuffed with an abandoned mouse nest and dug slightly into the soil, in the hope that its entrance (the spout) might attract one of next year's bumblebee queens to use it for her nest. Watch this space!
The 2013 State of Nature Report states that 60% of UK species are in decline. We're suggesting that the 15 million gardens in the UK can help tip the balance if we use them wisely. But this is a huge challenge. How can one person with a small garden really believe that they can do something to help?
Brigit: You only need to watch the bees and butterflies visiting a window box full of flowers, or the frog spawn and water boatmen appearing in the tiniest of all ponds, to realise that size doesn't matter. Together, the UK's 15 million gardens have the potential to be SO much greater than the sum of their parts - and no garden is too small to make a difference.
One of the best ways I've found to maximise the use of a small space, is to look first at the other gardens in your street. If no-one else has a pond, then maybe you could provide one - or if your neighbours have lots of plants flowering in June, but none flowering in July, maybe you could fill that gap? Above all, don't be daunted; once you're armed with Kate Bradbury's wonderful 'The Wildlife Gardener' book and Dorset Wildlife Trust's 'Make Wildlife Welcome pack', the world will be your oyster.
What's the best and most useful wildlife gardening tip you have?
Brigit: Mow your lawn less frequently, allow your dandelions to flower and don't be too tidy! Also, plant flowers in clumps rather than dotted all over the garden as this will attract more pollinators. Bees see in ultra-violet, so if you want to attract bees plant something blue.
Why should people join the campaign to Make Wildlife Welcome?
Brigit: Because its good for your health, great fun and beats watching TV! More important than anything else is the fact that our wildlife needs help more than ever before. These are challenging times, but you can make a real difference by signing up to this exciting campaign.
Would you like to become one of our Make Wildlife Welcome heroes and join us to help garden wildlife?
We'd love you to be part of our campaign to make wildlife welcome in garden's throughout Dorset. There's a special pack of goodies for non-members (and a members only starter pack) plus we'll be providing tips to help you realise your wildlife gardening dreams. Find out more here