Nature is everywhere, but how many of us dismiss our local playing field, park, or even our garden as ‘not special enough ....’? I know that if I hadn’t been desperate to find green space when I moved here, I could easily have dismissed my patch as dirty, noisy and not worth a second look.

Thankfully, my need to always 'just see what's around the corner', won out, and I quickly realised I had an ideal spot to record the natural world.  I found, too, that keeping my nature journal encouraged me to find out more about my home patch; and that helped me form a stronger connection with the landscape. Don’t feel you have to walk, or drive miles to find a local patch. Just find a safe, green area you can get to easily. A garden or the local park is fine. Let nature speak to you. All that matters is that the area attracts and interests you!

I have three, local regular patches, as well as my garden. One is a beautiful Georgian estate, one is a local nature reserve ( although it’s alongside a very busy motorway!) but the nearest, and my regular patch - is an ex landfill site! It’s now teeming with life and a great example that you don’t need a stunning rural location to engage fully with nature, because it's about how you choose to see the world. After all, you might live in the centre of a national park, but be too busy to notice the mountains any more!

It’s caring and connecting with your location that matters. 

Getting to know your place makes it special and remarkable to you; and you then reflect that to other people.

So - instead of dreaming of a trek through the rainforest, look at your local area with new eyes and you will be surprised what you find!

Wildlife Gardening

My wildlife garden is a special place to me. It’s evolved over 11 years from a small field full of thistles, nettles and bramble to being full of native plants, shrubs and trees which provide homes and food for a variety of creatures. It isn’t manicured or pristine, but it is full of wildlife!

Every outdoor space, from the largest garden to a window box, can help nature.  Making a garden wildlife friendly doesn’t mean it becomes a jungle.  You can still have a beautiful plot. You don't need to start from scratch, either, just making some small changes in your existing garden can make a big difference to the animals who visit.

A wildlife friendly garden is a wonderful resource if you have little ones in the family. It's a safe and special place for them to learn about nature, and I believe you can never start them too young!  Most children will love helping to make homes and provide food for their garden visitors. It's a great way  for them to learn about plants and animals, find out how things grow, and  discover the changing seasons,  because  it's all happening in their garden.  That sense of ownership and connection is important for everyone involved. Grown ups have fun too! 

You're encouraged to learn more about things,  because - they're  yours. That sense of belonging is a great feeling!

There's such excitement seeing the first green shoots burst through the earth, finding you have a hedgehog visiting  for the first time - or maybe watching a family of blue tits (chickadees) taking their first fluffy flutters in the outside world. You'll be surprised, and quite possibly amazed, by what goes on, once you start looking more closely. 

Making your garden more wildlife friendly is easy; and both we, and nature benefit!