Balcony with table and green overgrown plants during a sunny afternoon

Eleanor Clarke


Tips for wildlife-friendly gardens & balconies

Attracting wildlife into the garden, no matter how small the space, will bring joy as well as a helping hand with pollination, soil improvement and more. it’s all about sharing the love…

Don’t be too tidy

Fallen twigs, decaying tree stumps and piles of leaf litter all increase the habitats available to creatures such as insects, beetles and worms. Letting leaves rot where they fall for insects and invertebrates to break down will improve your soil, and birds will feed on the insects, so everyone’s happy.

Ditch the chemicals

This is one piece of advice you can heed even in the tiniest of spaces. Use bio washing-up liquid, then you can water plants with your used water. Pick off any greenfly by hand, or leave nature to take care of it for you: ladybirds and other beneficial insects thrive in chemical-free spaces. If you’ve the space, make your own compost – there’s nothing like it to give plants a boost.

Collect rainwater

There are plenty of gardeners who advise against watering in borders. Instead they’d advise choosing tough, drought-tolerant species designed to cope with our summers. There’s certainly something to be said for this approach. For pots, which really won’t survive without your helping hand, save rainwater in butts or troughs left out in storms.  

Position plants where they’ll thrive

This means reading your labels and giving your plants what they need from the get-go. The result is they’re quicker to establish and more resistant to pests and diseases. Also they’ll need less from you in terms of water (see point no. 3) and feeding.

Three blue tit birds eating from a bird feeder filled with nuts

Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Hang a bird feeder or two

If you want to attract a particular species, do a bit of research. Bluetits love fatballs and peanuts, while robins also love mealworms. Finches have a fancy for niger seeds and sunflower hearts (the seed without the dark husk). Cats can be a big problem in urbans areas, so make sure they’re well out of reach.

Magpie sitting on an edge of a small stone fountain

Magpie (Pica Pica)

Put in a washroom

If you provide a shallow dish of clean water, birds will come to drink and bathe, while insects – including butterflies and dragonflies – will use it as a drink station too.

Verbena bonariensis blooms in green grass

Verbena bonariensis

Provide year-round nectar

In summer it’s easy to be bountiful to pollinators – buddleia, Verbena bonariensis, salvias, leaving your lawn weeds to flower before mowing… everything helps. For winter nectar, mahonia, hellebores, crocus and heathers will all fill the hungry gap.

Remember the moths!

Moths are important pollinators too, taking over night duty from bees, hoverflies and other daytime insects. Evening primrose, tobacco plants, honeysuckle and summer-flowering jasmine are some of their favourite nectar sources.

Leave a wilderness patch

Admittedly, this one’s less possible on a balcony or in a tiny garden, but if you have the space, even a small area left to be taken over by weeds and nettles (the food plant of the peacock and small tortoiseshell butterfly) will soon become home to all kinds of insects

Hollow sticks with spider webs

Make a bug hotel

It doesn’t have to be five star, and any combination of sticks, stones, canes, straw and old pots will do, given a makeshift roof to keep them dry and homely. If all you have is a balcony, then pack a small pot with twigs and straw and hang it on its side.  


Remember, if we don’t have specific plants in stock, just come and ask one of the team. We’ll be happy to suggest an alternative or order it for you, if we can. 

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