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Darley and Nutwood Local Nature Reserve has been created as a valuable haven for wildlife. The reserve sits beside the River Derwent which links open countryside to the North, with Derby's historic Darley Park to the South.
A wildlife corridor is like a road for creatures. It helps them to travel between habitats to find shelter, food and water. Could your garden become part of a wildlife corridor?
Darley and Nutwood Local Nature Reserve supports an increasing number of birds, mammals, insects and plant species.
By making a few changes in your garden, you can enhance the local impact of the nature reserve.
Below are some ways in which you could help to create a more wildlife friendly environment.
Your garden can be a tranquil source of beauty, a place for the children to play, for vegetable and fruit growing, for summer barbeques.
It can also be a valuable place for wildlife, by extending the reach of the Nature Reserve.
Plant flowers that give colourful nectar-rich food through the summer for butterflies, bees, moths and other insects. Try planting Verbena, Lavender, Marjoram, Sedum or Honesty, as well as beautiful native flowers like Foxglove and Greater Knapweed.
Bring wildlife into your garden. Consider making a gap in your fence or hedge the size of a CD case (13cm x 13cm) to allow hedgehogs to travel between gardens, to forage for food.
|Give birds a much needed source of clean water, to drink and bathe in a bird bath or maybe just a shallow dish, a pet bowl or takeaway tub.||
Grow a hedge if possible to provide food and shelter for wildlife. Avoid cutting hedges in the bird nesting season, especially in April and May, or why not leave a section to grow. Privet flowers smell sweet in the evening.
A bee hotel for the solitary bee species, such as mason bees, can be made out of hollow lengths of bamboo or holes drilled in an upright piece of wood.
Nettles are the staple food of Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars, Could you provide a small nettle patch, perhaps hidden behind your compost heap or shed?
Avoid pesticides that can harm wild animals. Diluted washing up liquid is effective against greenfly and blackfly but does not affect butterflies and caterpillars.
|Remember to keep putting out fresh water for birds and other animals. In hot water, pour some water in a shady spot at dusk to encourage worms to surface for blackbirds and thrushes.||
Keep an area of long grass for creatures to shelter, and as food for butterfly caterpillars such as the Meadow Brown. This can be an attractive feature.
Composting peelings and grass clippings makes a home for insects and other invertebrates. Remember, these can be valuable food for the song bird chicks.
Leaving some plants to go to seed provides winter food for wildlife. Leave some windfall fruit as valuable autumn food for insects, mammals and birds. Consider planting a native berry tree like Rowan, Guelder Rose or Crab Apple rather than imported trees that can carry diseases, some of which harm wildlife.Ivy and Honeysuckle climbing on fences provides valuable autumn nectar and berries.
If you have room, make a pond. Even a small one or a bowl sunk in the soil can provide a home for frogs and newts. If you have small children, why not make a bog garden.
Resist the urge to tidy all grass, hedges and borders. Leave some places for animals to shelter in and as potential food in the hard winter months.
Make a pile of logs in an undisturbed part of the garden to provide shelter for mammals and insects.
Try building a simple hedgehog home for the winter.
Feed birds regularly when food is scarce. Some birds like hanging feeders, some feast on the ground. Birds need protecting from cats; feeders and bird tables are safe places for birds to feed.Planting spring bulbs gives early nectar and pollen for bees and other insects.
|Break the ice on a frozen birdbath – a light plastic ball can help to keep the surface from freezing.||Natural, safe nesting places are increasingly hard to find. Provide bird boxes as a safe alternative to a hole in an old tree, or maybe build a bat box.|