Wild Your Garden

Wild Your Garden, by Jim and Joel Ashton, book review

Learn how to turn your outdoor space into a haven for wildlife with easy-to-follow projects from The Butterfly Brothers. Reviewer Catherine Smalley is a freelance writer and gardener

Wild Your Garden
by Jim and Joel Ashton
DK
£14.99
ISBN 978-0241435816

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The UK is estimated to have lost 97 per cent of its meadows and at least a quarter of a million miles of hedgerow since the Second World War. It’s easy to feel despondent when faced with statistics like these, but this book offers a ray of hope, explaining how, as individuals, wildlife gardening is our most powerful tool for increasing biodiversity.

Chris Packham CBE and Jamal Edwards MBE have joined forces to show how people can do their bit to help wildlife
© John Phillips/Getty Images for National Lottery

Wildlife gardening experts Jim and Joel Ashton (aka The Butterfly Brothers) draw on their 15 years of experience in rewilding domestic plots to put forward practical advice on how to transform your garden into a sanctuary for nature. You’ll learn how to plant a native hedge, where to site a nectar border, when to mow a meadow and why building a pond is the best thing you can do for wildlife at home.

But Wild Your Garden isn’t just for those planning an entire garden redesign. I was pleased to read that the brothers warn against the ‘rip it out and start again philosophy’, instead encouraging us to appreciate the established trees, shrubs and climbers already offering a habitat to birds and insects, and the lawns that often contain wildflowers if only we would let them grow a little longer.

Smaller projects, such as creating a container pond or building a bird box, sit alongside more ambitious undertakings, such as planting a coppice belt or building a limestone bank, meaning there’s something for everyone. Straightforward instructions and inspiring before-and-after photographs are backed up with detailed information on exactly which animal species you will be attracting, and the long plant list at the back of the book, arranged by project and garden situation, is a really useful addition.

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At a time when we face unwieldy environmental issues, The Butterfly Brothers provide a welcome reminder that there are still many simple ways we can help local wildlife in our own gardens.