Space For Nature
Garden biodiversity forum

News: Spring/Summer 2006

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City wildlife trust urges gardeners to save water

Appeared on Space For Nature on April 5th 2006
Gardeners have been given advice on how to preserve water in our drought-ravaged capital.
The London Wildlife Trust is so concerned about the threat to the city's wildlife from lack of water that it has produced advice for gardeners on how they can do their bit to conserve this dwindling resource. Carlo Laurenzi chief executive of London Wildlife Trust said 'Our city's wildlife will be adversely affected by the drought if we don't take action to save water now. The more demand we make on our water resource, when supplies are low, the more pressure we place on our natural wetland habitats. It's essential Londoners take action to help our city's wildlife. What's more, endangered species like the Capital's water voles will be affected in the drought. Water voles - Britain's fastest declining mammal - become more vulnerable to predators where streams and watercourses run low. And with increasingly hot and dry London summers predicted - as a result of climate change - this problem is not going to go away.'

Everyone in the Capital can make a massive difference to their wildlife by saving water. This will decrease the demand for water to be taken from London's rivers and aquifers and so reduce the burden on our shared water resources. Thames Water is supporting London Wildlife Trust in its efforts to provide London's gardeners with advice to save water and protect wildlife. Save Water and Wildlife leaflets will be sent to customers throughout the Thames Water region and will be available at various attractions including London Wildlife Trust's wildlife sites across London, the Wildlife Garden at the Natural History Museum and the Water Efficient Garden at London Zoo.

Ten Gardening Tips to Save Water and Wildlife:
  • Place a water butt in your garden to collect rainwater to use on your plants and lawns.
  • Use water collected from your water butt to fill bird water baths.
  • Choose low-water or drought resistant plants that encourage wildlife.
  • Use large containers, lined with plastic and generously topped with mulch, for window boxes, roof gardens and patios. They don't dry out too quickly and are low maintenance.
  • Let your grass grow longer to encourage wildlife and help retain moisture by reducing evaporation from the soil - your grass won't go brown either!
  • Create wild areas such as a log pile, for mini-beasts like caterpillars, spiders and beetles.
  • Improve your soil by adding moisture-holding peat free organic compost.
  • Use a mulch as a protective cover to help retain moisture by reducing evaporation from the soil.
  • Water plant roots in the cool of the morning or evening to avoid water loss by evaporation.
  • Screen thirsty plants from drying winds by carefully planting or using fencing.
Star plants for dry wildlife gardens:
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleja 'Black Knight') - good for butterflies.
  • Ice plant (Sedum spectabile) - late flowering and attracts butterflies and bees.
  • Tulip (Tulipa 'Yokohama') - attracts bees, especially early bumble bees.
  • Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum) - good for butterflies.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - good for bees.
  • Hebe ('Autumn Glory') - favourite for butterflies.
  • Rock Rose (Helianthemum nummularium) - good for butterflies.
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) - favourite for butterflies and also liked by bees.
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris).
The Wildlife Trusts. 2006. London's wildlife at risk in drought. Viewed at on April 5th 2006.

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