Creating Homes for Wildlife in your garden: the 10% Challenge

Jordans 10% Challenge is a new project (launched in October 2011) aiming to get the public to set aside 10% of their gardens and patios as havens for wildlife. In the first year, the target is for 10,000 people to sign up and create new conservation areas in the UK equivalent to 18 football pitches.

In the longer run, though, Jordans are hoping to persuade more us to get involved. One million acres of land in the UK are gardens: 10% of that is 100,000 acres or more than 63,000 football pitches.

Taking the 10% Challenge is easy. From gardens to patios, simply use 10% of your outside space to create a wildlife friendly home. So whether it's designing a dedicated area or making lots of little changes, here are ten tips on how you can create a wildlife have in your garden.

  1. Perennials: plant your 10% with perennials, rather than shorter-lived plants, and you'll guarantee a happier wildlife habitat for many years to come. You could also create a 'wildlife corridor' so the creatures in your garden find it easier to move around safely - for instance from water to bushes and plants.
  2. Pollen & nectar-rich flowers: growing pollen and nectar rich flowers provides an important source of protein and energy for bees and butterflies. Plant them in a sunny spot, water regularly and you'll see them flourish - along with the wildlife they attract. And if you can, choose British species and support our native flora.
  3. Boxes: all wildlife needs a safe place to live and you can help by installing boxes for birds, bees, butterflies, other friendly bugs and even bats. Needless to say, keep them out of reach of the cat, and clear out bird boxes after evry nesting ready for another use.
  4. Insect-tastic plants:birds prefer tasty insects to stale bread, so plant to promote the beneficial insects which birds can eat. Certain insects can also help control aphids and other nasties, too.
  5. Bird-table/feeder: be it apples, nuts, cake, cooked pasta or specialist seeds, feeding birds all year round is an easy win. And keep ing grey squirrels away is always an entertaining challenge!
  6. Nectar feeder: it's not just the birds that are easy to feed. Butterflies, bees and other bugs can also be kept satisfied with a little watery sugary treat from a nectar feeder. These are quite easy to make and should keep the kids entertained for ages, possibly...
  7. Water, water everywhere: upturned bin lids of water, elaborate sculpted bird baths, rogue buckets, make-shift ponds or fancy water features - whatever your watery preference, they're magnets to all sorts of wildlife.
  8. Hanging around: hanging baskets not only look lovely but can also provide a great habitat for birds and bees - helping to make up your 10%. And if you are clever with seasonal planting, they don't just have to be for Spring or Summer.
  9. Untidiness: fight the desire to tidy every last little bit of your garden. Small untidy areas such as a little space behind the shed can be a haven for wildlife. Piles of twigs, leaves and long brass are the perfect habitat for lots of different creatures.
  10. Growing up: bare walls don't help anyone. So plant vertically, whether it's ivy up a garage wall or honeysuckle on your house. You'll find that all sorts of wildlife can take advantage of this new foliage.

Jordans have also developed some downloadable guides, with help from award-winning wildlife gardener Marney Hall. To sign up to the Jordans 10% Challenge and to access more information, visit www.jordanscereals.co.uk

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