The Wildlife Gardener's Almanac

Tips for Wildlife Gardening in March

Improve the biodiversity of your garden this March with these tips from The Wildlife Gardener’s Almanac. In her book, Jackie takes you through every month of the year, explaining what you can do in order to support the wildlife around you. Here’s just a few tips from the chapter focusing on March:

Reduce bird feeding 

Unless the weather is particularly harsh, reduce feeding as nesting begins. Hard bread and peanuts are harmful to newly hatched birds, so restrict food supplies to soft fat or grated cheese. Reducing the amount of food supplied will encourage the adults to start feeding on the emerging insects. However, if the ground is frozen, keep up the feeding until the bad weather passes.

Lift and divide water plants

In established ponds, marginal species can outgrow their space in the shallow water around the edge and need to be renewed by division. Spring is the best time to do this, just as the plants are starting their growth.

Clip heathers and lavender

The dead flowerheads of the summer-flowering heather (Calluna vulgaris) and scented lavender (Lavandula) can be clipped now to make way for new growth. Use a pair of garden shears and trim off the straggly dry stems, taking care not to cut into the woody parts. Both plants are valuable for bees, while heather also attracts a range of other insects and provides good cover for birds, insects and reptiles.

Something to plant in March:

WILD ANGELICA (Angelica sylvestris)
Most at home in damp meadows, fens, and on river banks, wild angelica is a widely distributed wild herb. The tall stems are distinguished from the more commonly grown garden angelica by their slender growth and purplish-pink colour. Wild angelica has a rather bitter taste but it makes a good architectural plant for the pond edge or marsh.

Key information about Wild Angelica:

Type: Perennial herb

Flowers: White or pink, summer to autumn

Height: 2m (6ft )

Planting: Plant in early spring, leaving 1m (3ft ) between plants

Site: Sun or partial shade, in marshy ground, by ponds or in damp meadows

Soil: Damp, rich soil

Care: Wild angelica is fairly short-lived, so plants can be discarded and replaced after two to three years

Propagation: Self-seeds easily; or collect seed in early autumn, store and sow outdoors in spring

Varieties: Garden angelica (Angelica archangelica) is now widely naturalised and is used to flavour liqueurs. The leaves are dried and used in teas and potpourri

Wildlife: Wide, open flowerheads makes angelica accessible to small insects like hoverflies. The seedheads provide useful food for birds in late summer and early autumn.

For more Wildlife Gardening tips, tricks and advice, get your copy of The Wildlife Gardener’s Almanac, by Jackie Bennett, today from all good retailers! 

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