Let the kids go wild and encourage wildlife in garden

A Generic Photo of a girl watering pots. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.
A Generic Photo of a girl watering pots. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.

Adam Frost has already urged people to think about wildlife at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, but the gold medal-winning garden designer isn’t done with his campaigning yet.

He is now urging parents to get their children into the great outdoors this summer and help reverse the decline of British wildlife.

The State of Nature report, carried out by a coalition of conservation organisations, recently revealed that 60% of British wildlife is in decline, while at the same time, a further research found two thirds of British school children want to be taught more about gardening and to engage with the outdoors.

Frost has now come up with a plan for parents on how to bring their children into the garden and to attract wildlife at the same time.

Create a planting plan: Mix together plants that are both beneficial to people and wildlife, such as fruits, vegetables and herbs, with shrubs and perennial herbaceous plants, to create an area where there is produce for humans and wildlife. Recommended plants that attract wildlife include sunflowers, wild strawberries, thyme, herbs and firethorn shrubs which offer nectar and berries to a range of wildlife.

Grow a selection of salad crops: This requires regular attention and will give children something to focus on right up until they eat them. Seeds should be watered every evening and given plant food once a week. Lettuce and other salad leaves can be sown in spring and summer.

Go seed collecting: Look closely for plants in your borders where flower heads have fallen off and seeds are growing. If the seeds are brown, get the children to help you pick them and put them in a warm place to dry out ready to plant for next spring.

Create a compost heap: This is a great way of encouraging kids to recycle garden waste and also helps them understand the natural cycle of growth and decay. Create three tightly fixed walls in your chosen area and begin filling it with organic materials such as grass clippings, weeds, straw, manure, shredded newspaper, kitchen waste, plant cuttings and soft prunings.

Take games outdoors: Go on a treasure hunt or play hide-and-seek to encourage children to explore the garden and stimulate their curiosity about the outdoors. If you have daisies in the garden, teach them to make daisy chains.

Set up bird feeding and cleaning stations: Birds come to gardens to feed, breed, nest and rest. To make sure your garden is accommodating, introduce a bird house, feeding station or a bird bath - all of these are a must for budding young bird watchers. The water in a bird bath needs to be at least 2.5cm deep and should be placed in the open away from areas where cats may hide.

Families can receive further help on how to encourage wildlife by visiting www.getintogardening.co.uk.