Take Action On... Gardens & Landscapes

Our gardens and the wider landscape are all part of one great big network of connected green spaces that not only allow wildlife to thrive but also have the capacity to capture carbon and feed us. Unfortunately these spaces have become less connected over the last few decades as hedges between fields were ripped out and gardens have been paved over in the search for a maintenance-free life.

This has led to wildlife becoming isolated as they cannot move from place to place in search of food, mates and nesting sites. There has also been more building development and a greater use of pesticides, adding to the problem of wildlife decline.

But the tide is turning. Farmers are now paid to enhance their land for wildlife, more nature reserves and forests are being created, and garden owners are starting to embrace wild and plant for pollinators. Find out how what you can do to help restore nature and combat climate change:

Private gardens in Britain cover a vast amount of space and so there is great potential for them to be managed in a way that creates havens for wildlife, boosting the number and variety of animals they can support (biodiversity) as well as capturing carbon in the soil, plants and their roots. This also increases the interest and enjoyment of a garden for us, as who doesn’t like to see butterflies, bees, dragonflies and frogs bringing their gardens to life.

The basic principles to managing your garden sustainably are:

  • Encourage wildlife and boost biodiversity e.g. by not using pesticides, adding a tree, pond, and/or hedge, keeping an area wild and/or joining in with Plantlife’s ‘No Mow May’
  • Go peat–free
  • Practice good water management
  • Grow some fruit and veg even if it’s just a few herbs
  • Reduce, re-use, recycle (and make compost and leaf mould if you have the space)
  • Choose the right plants – ‘right plant, right place’ and useful for wildlife (habitat and pollination.)
  • Look after your soil – practice no dig, mulch, minimize the concrete and avoid artificial grass.
  • Limit the lighting

Garden designer, and Chair of the Ampthill Climate Change Group, Jayne Anthony, offers more detailed advice and guidance on each of these topics. Looking After The Environment - Jayne Anthony Garden Design

By protecting, restoring and creating natural landscapes such as native woodlands peatlands and green urban spaces we can not only help wildlife but also prevent more carbon reaching the atmosphere and further heating the planet. These nature-based solutions also help to reduce the risk of flooding by absorbing and slowing down rainfall and cool the air.

This is fantastic for humans, too. Being surrounded by green space can improve our health and well-being and help us to appreciate and enjoy nature and wildlife.

  • Look out for proposed developments in the area and ensure that you comment on planning applications that are detrimental to the local environment. View and comment on planning applications | Central Bedfordshire Council
  • Learn to love any areas that might look untidy. A patch of bramble and nettles, for example, is a valuable habitat and food source for all kinds of wildlife including bees and butterflies.
  • Do a litter pick. Litter not only looks unsightly it can harm wildlife as animals and birds can get tangled in it or ingest it. You can either look out for organized litter picks to join in with (keep an eye on our Facebook page) or borrow the equipment from Ampthill Town Council.

If you are a local organisation, voluntary and community group, you can apply for a tree grants from Central Bedfordshire council to cover the cost of tree and hedge planting within Central Bedfordshire. https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/42/stronger_communities/678/community_grants/4

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