WILDLIFE FRIENDLY GARDENING

Making Space for Nature

Sorbus Learning offers you unique opportunities to understand the natural world and help you discover the skills required to restore, maintain and improve places for wildlife. In particular we can help you create homes, habitat features and ponds that will attract wildlife into your garden. We will show you simple ideas that reuse found items and recycle waste materials so that you reduce your impact on the environment.

Workshops, Advice & Practical Work

We can show, guide or help you make space for nature in your garden

Basic principles

The four aspects of making space for nature in our gardens are providing food, water and shelter, as well as keeping the wildlife and the environment safe from our activities. Our success at achieving this and making space for nature in our garden has won us awards from Surrey Wildlife Trust.


Our courses and workshops seek to share with you simple ideas for planting habitats, making features and creating ponds that will attract wildlife. We promote the concept of rewilding as a way of encouraging wildlife and aim to achieve these outcomes using found and recycled materials.

Food

Providing food for wildlife is more than putting up bird feeders or food down for mammals. An important component of natural ecosystems are the smaller creatures, insects and invertebrates that pollinate flowers and vegetables and are food for other animals. So a key part of our approach is to offer advice about suitable nectar and fruit bearing plants.

Water

Life cannot exist without water and as gardeners conserving wildlife we can provide freshwater using a variety of methods. The most obvious is to build a wildlife pond (no fish) that will attract native amphibians, dragonflies, pond skaters, water beetles and other aquatic life. However, our workshops share ideas for using bucket ponds and other structures.

Shelter

After attracting wildlife into your garden to feed and drink the next aim is to encourage animals to stay and breed. To achieve this we need to consider what shelter they require to feel safe and how we can provide homes for them. We offer instruction how to make habitats, homes and refuges for our invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Safety

Remember our actions always have outcomes and in the garden we can affect wildlife by what we either do or don't do. We ask gardeners to change the timing and the way they cut grass so that wildlife has refuges and is not harmed. Garden 'weeds' are often the best providers of nectar, particularly in early spring so why cut them down? We also encourage cutting hedges in late autumn to avoid disturbing nesting birds.

We promote an organic approach to gardening.

Records

A final aspect of your gardening in harmony with wildlife is to keep a record of what lives in or visits your garden so that you can celebrate the successes of making space for nature. There are lots of organisations that can help you identify wildlife and keep records. Importantly they share this information with other local gardeners and ecologists.


Wild plants - https://www.npms.org.uk/ 

Habitats - https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/gardenwatch

Butterflies - https://www.bigbutterflycount.org/ 

Birds - https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/

Mammals - https://ptes.org/get-involved/surveys/garden/living-with-mammals/