Aim: to establish and keep a network of biodiverse habitats round the village area. This primarily means having linked patches of native flowering plants and trees which are rooting permanently in the soil. These will provide habitat for insects, birds, animals and all the other creatures.
Things to do at different times of year. Some can only be done then, some can be done any time.
Spring (March - May)
Stop using insecticides or weedkillers (all the time)
Leave some of your lawn to grow out. There will probably be other wild flowers in there as well as grasses. Mow paths or patches only.
Allow “weeds” like nettles, docks, thistles and brambles to grow in one corner
Plant some wild flowers, but don’t dig up what’s already there to do it. If you have bare soil without tree cover you can plant seeds. Make sure they are perennial plants suitable for clay soils (can also be done in autumn)
Create a pond. If you don’t have much room, try an old sink or even a big washing up bowl. Make sure small creatures can get in and out of it. (can be done later in year) Plant native species in and round it. Don’t put fish in.
If you don’t have a garden fill large pots, tubs, hanging baskets and window boxes with flowering plants. You can do layers with bulbs underneath and other plants on top.
Make a simple compost heap or bin and start using your kitchen green waste and any garden material in it for future years. If you must “weed”, at least return them to the soil.
Summer (June – July)
Allow some lawn to grow a bit, a few inches, mowing every few weeks. You should get small flowering plants like daisies growing in it. This mimics naturally grazed land.
Leave a piece of your hedge to grow naturally and flower and fruit (native plants like hawthorn or holly). You need to leave it all year, and only trim lightly after fruiting if needed.
Stop clearing the ground around established plants and trees and let other plants grow around them. Never mind if they’re called weeds.
Dig as little as possible to maintain a healthy soil and lock in carbon (all the time)
You can enhance a growing-out lawn with a few directly-planted perennial native plants such as moon daisies and trefoil, if it hasn’t grown many on its own.
If you have flower beds, try adding some native plants to your garden ones. You can also grow herbs like lavender, mint, sage etc which may not be native but are similar in type and suitable for habitat. (can also be done in spring and autumn)
Plant a green growing roof on your shed (Spring to Autumn)
Autumn (August – October)
Don’t dead-head or cut back plants after flowering, and leave fallen branches and twigs near their tree
Especially if you have shade, plant native bulbs. They will grow where other flowers don’t
Plant small native trees or orchard fruit trees. Make sure they have light and room to grow. Let other native plants grow round them – you could plant bulbs or other early spring native flowers.
Plant climbing flowering plants up any structures or trees – honeysuckle and clematis are good
Make sure your boundaries have gaps so animals like hedgehogs can come and go (any time)
Winter (November- January)
Cut your long grass/wildflowers once in winter (to mimic a meadow)
Make a bee hotel, or just a good pile of different shaped twigs and branches, or holes in a wooden post – habitat for insects (any time)
Put up bird feeders in the right place (among protective vegetation) and keep them full (any time)
Put up bird boxes, owl boxes, bat boxes for nesting (any time)
Remove a hard fence or a non-native hedge like box, privet, leylandii or laurel, and replace with native hedging like hawthorn, holly, blackthorn next spring – and have it properly laid in future.