Mike Dilger’s wildlife challenge

Mike Dilger Welcome visitors to your garden by planting for wildlife, says Mike Dilger

Don't be daunted by this challenge: you don't have to be the world's most practical person to construct a wildlife garden.

Sometimes it's not about what you do, but what you don't do. For example, a quiet, unkempt corner can be worth its weight in gold - providing a refuge for some of our more introverted wildlife.

Grow some green fingers and get to grips with this challenge!

Grow a sunflower

Bees and other insects love sunflowers and birds love to eat sunflower seeds.

Plant up a pot (or two)

Plant some nasturtiums - they are easy to grow, the flowers and seeds are edible and bees and butterflies love them!

Start Quote

Sometimes it's not about what you do, but what you don't do. ”

End Quote Mike Dilger, presenter of The One Show and Britain's Big Wildlife Revival

Try growing lavender, which also attracts insects and smells lovely and lady's mantle, which grows easily and looks great alongside lavender.

Marjoram also grows easily, has delicate mauve flowers which attract insects and tastes good in pasta sauce.

Sow a mini meadow

Clear a 1m square space in a sunny spot and make sure any old roots are dug out. Cover the patch with wildflower seeds, press them down taking care not to bury them with soil. Water them in if it's dry.

If you don't have much space plant a mini meadow in a window box, then just watch and wait. Seeds are best planted in spring or autumn.

Plant a hedge

The rise of the fence and the demise of the hedge means that our wildlife has lost a valuable resource.

Hedges provide an array of food, including pollen, nectar and berries and also provide shelter to birds, small mammals and a whole host of insects.

Did you know?

Ground elder, which is thought of as a weed, was introduced to the UK by the Romans as a vegetable for their soldiers.

Dahlias, which we use as a bedding plant, were grown by the Aztecs as a root vegetable

It's easy to plant a simple native hedge such as alder, beech, birch, blackthorn, dog rose, hawthorn, hazel or field maple. Plant and watch the wildlife return over time.

Make a to do list for your wildlife garden.

You'll also find some top tips for which plants to include in our guide to the top ten garden plants for wildlife and on the Wild About Gardens website from the experts at the Royal Horticultural Society and Wildlife Trusts.

And if you can't tell what you're watching, we have in depth information about a host of animals and plants in the UK.

There are pictures and videos of 47 mammals that live in our country and 134 British birds, including geese, raptors, songbirds and seabirds.

We also have a selection of identification guides, to help you recognise the animals you've spotted: try our ID guide to amphibians, or ID guide to reptiles.

Download your own copy of the Summer of Wildlife Handbook

PDF download Summer of Wildlife Handbook [pdf][15.9MB]

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

We can also help you tell birds of prey apart, or help you distinguish your swallows, swifts and martins.

You can also visit the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) for more tips on spotting birds, or use iSpot, an online community of experts that can help you identify the wildlife you've seen.

Finally, be sure to share any photographs you take on the BBC Summer of Wildlife Flickr group. As part of our See it, Snap it, Share it challenge, we're hoping to reach 100,000 photographs that document the state of our UK wildlife in the summer of 2013.

All summer we'll be hosting an online conversation around the Summer of Wildlife. Follow BBC Nature on Facebook and Twitter @BBCNature. Join in and share your own Summer of Wildlife experiences and get the latest news and updates about the wildlife near you.

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