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Go wild about gardens

Lorraine Kelly is wild about gardens. © WAG Wild about Gardens.Click here to see a list of plants recommended for wildlife gardening.

Andrew Davis of The Wildlife Trusts, commented: 'The Wild About Gardens partnership will help the battle for the preservation of several species, including the stag beetle, song thrush, hedgehog and bumblebee. The UK's gardens provide more green spaces than all the designated National Nature Reserves combined. This huge area can help wildlife thrive, at a time of habitat loss and climate change.'

Simon Thornton-Wood, of the Royal Horticultural Society, said: 'Gardening for wildlife has gained popularity over the past few years and is no longer seen as meaning a messy and unkempt garden. Wild About Gardens is about giving people the advice and inspiration they need to make the most of their potential garden nature reserves.'

Anne MacCaig of Ribena added: 'Wild About Gardens is bringing together the worlds of gardening and nature conservation for the benefit of people and wildlife. We hope that the collaboration between Ribena, The Wildlife Trusts and The Royal Horticultural Society will help people to understand and encourage local wildlife and in their own gardens.'

'We are very excited about being involved in Wild About Gardens. Our Ribena blackcurrant growers have a unique partnership with The Wildlife Trusts, having implemented tailored conservation plans across all their farms. Measures taken include the erection of bird and bat boxes and the creation of rough grass margins around fields and ponds to make sure that native British wildlife continues to thrive for years to come. These plans have proved so successful to date that we want to share our experiences in a bid to help encourage others to take action to benefit the wildlife in their gardens.'

To find out more hints and tips from the experts on how to make your garden more wildlife friendly visit www.wildaboutgardens.org.

10 tips for a better wildlife garden.

Love your lawns - but find romance in the rough Rough grass margins have been successfully established on Ribena blackcurrant farms across the UK, helping local wildlife to flourish. If you have an area of lawn that is difficult to cut, leave it to grow throughout the summer and cut it at the end of the season. This will provide an excellent habitat for many insects, particularly moths, grasshoppers and beetles, and newly-emerged frogs.
Curves are key Create mini-suntraps in your flowerbeds for sun-loving plants and creatures by shaping your borders to maximise exposure to sunlight. A gently curved edge will provide more aspects to the sun than straight-edged borders.
Outdoor architecture The more variety there is within the structure and design of your garden, the greater the number of options for visiting and resident wildlife. Think about having a range of different heights in the garden, both with physical structures like pergolas and sheds or existing slopes and banks.
The hedge pledge Consider replacing an old fence with a hedge. One that contains a variety of species, and ideally native varieties, is best for wildlife. If you prefer a single-species hedge, consider plants that have added wildlife interest, such as berry-producing shrubs.
Climbing walls and fences If space is premium in your garden, you can effectively increase its size by using these vertical surfaces. Attach a trellis or other support to them, and grow a variety of climbing plants up them such as ivy or honeysuckle. They add interest to the garden, and provide valuable homes for wildlife. If there is no open soil by your fence or wall, then you can grow climbing plants there in containers.
Trees please On the other hand, if your garden is large enough, try to include at least one tree, as some birds like to sing from a high 'song-post'. Native trees will support a huge number of insects that, in turn, will provide food for larger animals and birds. The Ribena growers have made the most of the space on their farmland by planting trees that help local wildlife.
Every drop counts A water feature will introduce real variety into to your garden but do source the water responsibly. Rainwater collected in water butts can be used to fill water features. Ponds are excellent breeding grounds for dragonflies and amphibians, especially if they don't contain fish. You can even use the excess soil from digging your pond to create additional contours for the garden. If you have limited space, a simple bird bath or pebble fountain will provide a great place for animals to drink.
Continue the organic revolution Recycle organic leftovers from the kitchen and garden to create compost. Your neighbours will turn green with envy when they see how well-nourished and fertile your soil is. Even better, the compost heap will make an ideal home for insects and small animals like hedgehogs and caterpillars, as well as a rich feeding ground for birds and beetles.
Create communities Help wildlife thrive by providing additional features such as bird feeders and bird and bat boxes. You can buy seed or leave out food scraps for birds throughout the year, although be careful not to leave cooked food lying around if it doesn't get eaten, as it may attract vermin. Ribena has implemented these measures across all 41 of its UK farms to help ensure the future of native British wildlife, encourage biodiversity and preserve species.
Springtime snipping Follow the lead of the Ribena growers by delaying cutting back perennial shrubs and plants until the spring. The seed heads that remain provide valuable food for birds and other animals through the winter, while the stems and foliage provide beneficial shelter for hibernating insects.