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 create, restore, maintain and improve places for wildlife. We can help you make homes, habitat features and ponds that will attract wildlife into your garden or green space. We will show you how to recover, reuse and recycle waste materials so that you reduce your impact on the environment.

A practical approach

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

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. Success at achieving this and making space for nature in our garden has won awards from Surrey Wildlife Trust.


Our courses and workshops seek to share with you simple ideas for creating habitats, making features and digging ponds that will attract wildlife. We promote the concept of wilding as a way of encouraging wildlife and aim to achieve these outcomes reusing found and recycling waste 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 for wild plants, and homes and refuges for invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Safety

Remember our actions have outcomes and we affect wildlife by what we either do or don't do in our gardens. We ask gardeners to change the timing and way they cut grass to create refuges so that wildlife 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 your own 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/