London’s green and pleasant land

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Despite the artificial lawns, AstroTurf and boarding that has taken over many a London garden, it seems that 75 per cent of us prefer the natural route and like to encourage wildlife.

A Royal Horticultural Society survey found that 40 per cent of people plant wildlife friendly plants and over three quarters of gardeners actively try to encourage more wildlife into their gardens.  Over a third of gardeners grow plants recommended for bees, butterflies and other precious pollinators.

Birds, bees and snails are the creatures most often seen in our gardens, but two out of five of us have never seen a hedgehog, nearly half have never seen a bat and over a third have never seen a frog, toad or newt in their gardens.

Whilst butterflies are in the top five type of wildlife seen in gardens, nearly half of all people who have had a garden for more than three years think the population of butterflies has decreased.

RHS Chief Horticulturist, Guy Barter, says: “These results show that supporting wildlife in our outside spaces is really important to many of us.  “However some areas need more attention as only about one in ten of us has built a pond which is extremely beneficial to wildlife, especially when the weather is warm as they make gardens cooler and provide water for thirsty animals.  “Surprisingly twice as many people reported quite advanced wildlife friendly measures, such as leaving decaying wood (22%), putting out bird boxes (28%) or making a compost heap (25%).”

For hedgehogs the RHS recommends creating a hole in fencing so hedgehogs can forage between territories, leaving log piles as a safe site for breeding or hibernating and creating compost heaps to provide good nesting sites and food with lots of insects. For frogs, toads and newts ponds are vital and for bats night scented flowers, ponds and reducing artificial light can help make gardens a haven.

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