By Kenny Wharton, Estate Manager, Crathorne Hall Hotel

I have worked at Crathorne Hall Hotel  for 39 years – so even before it belonged to Hand Picked Hotels.  I am a keen photographer and wildlife enthusiast and support wildlife organisations where I can.

Here are my top 10 ideas to give wildlife a reason to visit your garden:


1. Try to resist the big garden clean up and composting.

Pile up debris, leaves and old seed heads as an overwintering home for insects, the birds will love this food source.

2. Purchase a couple of 6’x6' fence boards and make a bird box and insect house.

These will be used as shelter as the weather gets colder.

3. Look at other gardens.

Taking note of the plants attracting most insects or butterflies; they are the ones you should buy. Planting these gives food and shelter.

4. Plan your bird feeding station.

Somewhere that’s close to a window next to your most comfortable chair is best. Remember feed a little every day so the birds get used to you.

5. Have you over-fenced your garden?

Leave an opening to allow hedgehogs to get in as well as looking for food they will be looking for a place to hibernate once the colder weather is here.

6. Encourage neighbours to do the same as you.

Wildlife needs ‘corridors’ to move about.  It’s no good being an oasis if they need to cross a vast desert to get to you.

7. Top ten plants every wildlife gardener should consider for their patch are:

  • Sunflowers
  • Foxgloves
  • Thyme
  • Lavender
  • Honeysuckle
  • Rowan
  • Ice plant
  • Firethorn
  • Barberry
  • Purple loosestrife


8. Hang a bird feeder filled with unsalted peanuts.

Fat balls and seed mixes are great for attracting many species of birds. Offerings of bacon rind and grated cheese will also make your garden popular.

9. Grow a hedge

Hedges provide additional nesting areas for birds and small animals. Suitable hedge plants include blackthorn, buckthorn, cherry plum, elder, hawthorn, hazel and privet. Climbers and creepers provide further foliage to boost the insect population and draw birds. Clematis, dog rose and honeysuckle are traditional favourites.

10. Build a log pile to encourage biodiversity

It's the ideal habitat for small mammals, amphibians and all manner of insect.

All photos used in this article are courtesy of Kenny Wharton