Why not make the summer of 2023 all about rewilding?
For those keen to protect and cultivate our natural ecosystems, rewilding is a great way to bring a little bit of nature to your garden - whatever the size. Rewilding means reinstating the natural landscape to allow nature to take care of itself, encouraging the return of native species to let them shape their own habitat.
According to research by Rewilding Britain, 80% of adults are in support of rewilding. So, from rolling gardens through to planting boxes on the balcony, it’s time to get rewilding.
Catherine Capon, rewilding advocate and our Head of MarComms UK, has shared her top tips for starting your own rewilding project this spring!
1. Time to say goodbye to non-native plants
Before you rewild your garden, I would recommend downloading a plant ID app, such as PlantSnap, to help you identify and remove any non-native plants.
It might seem counterintuitive to start rewilding by removing plants but these non-native species could harm local flora and fauna by taking up all the resources. If you replace these with native species that support the local wildlife you are much more likely to see your garden come to life.
If you don't have a large garden to start your own rewilding project you can still plant native flower species in a balcony or window box at home. Those nectar-rich flowers will attract pollinators like buzzing bees and colourful butterflies.
2. Let your lawn grow
To truly rewild your garden you need to reduce your lawn area. Start by making a change to your mowing routine and do this less frequently. You should allow for a mix of tidy short and wild long grass to grow.
Many lawns are a monoculture and offer little habitat value for wildlife. However, a mix of short and long grasses will allow different plants to grow and thrive. The longer grass might even become the new stomping ground for frogs, newts, hedgehogs and lizards while the short grass can be abundant with daisies and buttercups.
Replacing sections of your lawn with native wildflowers or other types of vegetation to create more habitat for wildlife is also essential for rewilding. Bees love clover so this is perfect if you want to create a buzz around the garden!
Reducing your lawn size has multiple maintenance benefits too as it does not need to be mowed or watered as much - it’s a win-win.
3. The birds and the bees
Different animals all need different habitats to thrive, so it’s important to create a home for everyone in your garden. You can create habitats for birds, insects and small mammals by adding things like bird boxes, bug hotels and log piles.
You could even create a mini pond with a small watertight container, who knows, this might become a visiting sire for dragonflies, hedgehogs and frogs!
4. Embrace natural pest management
When rewilding your garden, avoid any use of pesticides because this can be harmful to local wildlife and native flower species. Instead, you can use natural methods to control pests. For example, introducing natural predators or using companion planting by planting plants together that are mutually beneficial.
This is a similar concept to the regenerative farming method of agroforestry that Treedom uses, where we plant trees deliberately alongside traditional agricultural crops. This is amazing for biodiversity, soil fertility and long-term carbon uptake.
5. My biggest pet peeve: artificial grass
If you are embarking on a rewilding project, artificial grass should be nowhere to be seen! Replacing natural grass with plastic will only prevent biodiversity and I can assure you there will be no native flowers growing here.
Whether you have a large garden with plenty of rewilding potential or just a few small window boxes, rewilding can be adapted to fit your home and make it come alive. Together we all do our bit to make the planet greener, restore our natural world and address the global issues of biodiversity loss and the climate crisis.