‘Balconies, boxes and roofs could help tackle loss of UK biodiversity’ says RSPB

The RSPB is urging people to create a window box or turn their balconies and rooftops into miniature gardens.

Hanging bird bath and great tit. Pic Nigel Blake (rspb-images.com)

Hanging bird bath and great tit. Pic Nigel Blake (rspb-images.com)

A haven for all kinds of creatures in even the smallest of areas can be created for wildlife , says the charity.

According to The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), over 80% of the UK population has somewhere to grow outdoor plants, including patios, window boxes and balconies.

Although areas like window boxes and balconies may not be the largest outside spaces, they can still be extremely beneficial for all kinds of wildlife, particularly insects, and even people says the RSPB.

Piles of twigs and sticks, masonry bee boxes, pots of foxgloves and herbs, and a small water feature are among the wildlife gardening ideas that could provide homes and food for a variety of valuable insects such as butterflies, moths and bees. Other creatures like birds, bats and hedgehogs could also benefit.

Growing herbs, vegetables, fragrant plants or plants with decorative or soft foliage can also benefit people’s health and well-being.

Richard Bashford, RSPB Homes for Wildlife manager said: “Imagine being an insect trying to find pollen across acres of flowerless towns and cities.  Your window box could be a welcome stop off.

“Be creative – anyone can grow plants in a container – which is great, but try thinking outside the box at how you can adapt and scale down features you might normally associate with a larger garden.”

If you have a balcony, terrace or rooftop space, the RSPB suggests:

  • Using tubs and pots to grow climbers, small shrubs and even vegetables
  • Growing a small tree or wildflower meadow in a container
  • A water feature, no matter how small. Tubs and containers, even old sinks, make excellent water features
  • A source of dead and decaying wood. The simplest option is to use an old bucket filled with soil and woodchippings, with holes in the side
  • Growing herbs
  • Putting up a nest box
  • Creating a compost bin

The RSPB is encouraging city dwellers to take part in its Stepping Up for Nature campaign by taking advantage of urban spaces to help birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife. (See note 2).

The campaign aims to halt the decline in biodiversity by 2020 by urging everyone from school children to government ministers to take a variety of steps to protect wildlife.

For more information on how to create a wildlife friendly garden visit www.rspb.org.uk/hfw

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