20 November 2023

10 Christmas gardening gifts with wildlife in mind

20 November 2023

Encouraging birds, bees and butterflies, as well as a host of other beneficial creatures to the garden is a trend that’s likely to continue for years to come.

So this Christmas you could be spreading the message to your gardening friends and relatives with your choice of present.

Here are just some gift offerings with wildlife in mind.

1. Bumblebee gift box (£20, Seedball)

Anyone who loves to see bees in their garden should take advantage of this special edition gift box set, in celebration of Seedball’s 10-year anniversary, created to raise awareness of three rapidly declining British bee species – the shrill carder, the short-haired bumblebee and the great yellow bumblebee. The natural-looking gift box contains three bumblebee tins, each containing 20 seed balls which hold a mixture of cornflowers, cowslip, campions, poppies and more bumblebee-friendly wildflower seeds. They will work well whether you have substantial garden borders or a balcony pot.

2. ‘Power to Pollinators’ Rose Collection (£19.99 for bare root, £24.99 potted, Harkness Roses)

Rose specialist Harkness Roses has unveiled a new rose range alongside the RSPB to shine a light on the importance of growing flowers to support pollinators. The collection of nine roses including bare root and potted varieties will attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, and has been hand-picked by the RSPB for their ability to get your garden teeming with wildlife.

3. Planting A Paradise by Arthur Parkinson (£22, Kyle Books)

Gardeners can snuggle in a corner at Christmas with this delightful book from the best-selling author of Chicken Boy and The Flower Yard as he takes them through an array of planting ideas for quick and easy container displays through the seasons, with flower choices which will provide an oasis for wildlife as well as a feast for the eyes.

4. Bee barrel (£29.99. hillier.co.uk)

Another ideal gift for those who want to help bees, the small barrel containing canes can be hung in trees or bushes in the garden and is designed to be occupied by ‘baby bees’ during the summer months, before the following spring when new adult bees emerge. The hole sizes of this habitat are aimed at attracting non-swarming bees like the red mason bee, leafcutter bee and other solitary bees, all beneficial to the pollination of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Site in a sunny position facing between south to south east to catch some morning sun.

5. Red squirrel small wonder gift pack (£10, National Trust)

This is an ideal stocking-filler for eco-conscious friends and family who perhaps don’t want you to spend on a physical gift, but will help the animal world. Your payment will help look after red squirrels and supports wildlife conservation across the National Trust. The gift pack includes a red squirrel pin badge and card.

6. Stake bird bath (£37.99, Crocus)

This stylish bird bath, made from gloss powder-coated cast aluminium, can be used for both food and water all year round. Birds can perch on the little bird perch above the bowl, which screws on to the top of the stake and can be easily removed for cleaning. If the ground is dry and hard, water it well to soften before driving in the stake to avoid damage.

7. Sophie Conran bird food tin (£22.49, Burgon & Ball)

A stylish galvanised pest proof tin to store your bird food with handy scoop – it fits neatly under your arm and stops spillages and mess.

8. Artisan Bali bird nest box (£45.95, The Worm That Turned)

Bring a touch of the exotic to your garden with this unusual-looking timber nesting box, handcrafted in Bali where workers use a dot-painting technique to decorate the box in a traditional Balinese style. It should be secured on a tree, wall or garden fitting at least 1.5m off the ground. It provides a safe habitat for small bird species such as blue tits, coal tits, marsh tits, sparrows and flycatchers. Nesting occurs mainly in April and May, so don’t disturb the box in these months as it may result in the eggs or the young being abandoned.

9. Handmade artisan bee skep (34.99, Crocus)

Gardeners who like a pop of colour in their natural environment may welcome this eye-catching bee skep, a colourful version of the traditional skep used to collect honeybee swarms historically, but can now be used for nesting bees or just as a garden adornment. The skep is hand-woven from sustainable seagrass, and fibres taken from recycled saris provide the colour. It’s water resistant, should be placed in a sheltered spot and can be secured using tent pegs. To encourage bees, put twigs inside to give them material to build their nest around. Plant wildflowers or plants for pollinators around the skep to encourage bees into the area.

For young wildlife lovers…

10. National Trust Kids Wildlife Range Bundle (£84.99, CJ Wildlife)

Youngsters who want to connect with nature will love this wildlife bundle, complete with bird feeders for seeds, peanuts, and fat balls, and colour-coordinated food buckets to fill them with. The generous pack also includes three build-your-own kits to help kids create their own wildlife habitats, with the Dana Butterfly House, Jinto Bird Feeder and Nell Nest Box, plus nutritious duck and swan food for days at the park.

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