Gardeners urged to think about wildlife

Phil Allen was the winner of the Gardening for Wildlife Award in the 2016 Mid & East Antrim in Bloom Community Competitions and is keen to encourage other gardeners to think about local wildlife.
Phil Allen was the winner of the Gardening for Wildlife Award in the 2016 Mid & East Antrim in Bloom Community Competitions and is keen to encourage other gardeners to think about local wildlife.

The winner of the ‘Gardening for Wildlife Award’ in the 2016 Mid & East Antrim in Bloom Community Competitions is keen to encourage other gardeners to think about local wildlife. encourage other gardeners to think about local wildlife.

Carrickfergus man, Phil Allen has lots of advice to help the process.

He said “How a garden develops very much depends on what you have got to start with. In general, trees are valuable if you have the room, particularly willow for early pollen for queen bumble bees, and rowan, hawthorn and crab apples for fruit and berries later.

“A pond is a great wildlife attraction. Birds come to drink and bathe, and water creatures can turn up quickly, as can newts. Do not put fish in - they will eat the wildlife! Log piles soon become food and great shelter for many small creatures, avoid any treated wood. Put up a nest box, facing away from the full sun. Leave a patch of grass unmown- you could get speckled wood butterflies laying eggs on the grass.”

Many of our common garden species, such as sparrows and common frogs are becoming much less common. In fact, research has found that sixty percent of UK animal and plant species have declined in the past 50 years for a range of reasons including loss of habitat.

The Mid & East Antrim in Bloom community competitions are one way for people to be recognised for their wildlife gardening skills. Applications are welcome from all residents of the Borough and entry is free of charge.

For more information on the Mid & East Antrim in Bloom community competitions visit: www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/inbloom