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Countryside close to home

Butterfly on a blue flower
Brimstone butterfly Elizabeth Hamilton

With so many health and wellbeing benefits from being outdoors, we thought we would introduce you to some plants and wildlife which you might see in your garden or nearby local green space.

I’m Elizabeth Hamilton and I’ve been volunteering for CPRE Hertfordshire since 2004. I’ve worked as an ecologist and I’m also a keen gardener. I live in a village in the Chilterns with fields and woods nearby. Since moving here over 20 years ago we have created a garden with plenty of features which attract wildlife and I try to look after the garden with wildlife in mind.

Over the last 70 years our wildlife has been in decline, with changes to the way the countryside is managed having a severe impact on many species. Although most individual gardens are small, collectively they provide a huge haven for our wildlife, and with a few small changes many gardeners can make them even better.

In these notes I’ll introduce you to some of the wildlife in my garden which has arrived by itself, as well as some of the plants I’ve brought here to attract species like pollinating insects. I’ll also suggests some gardening tips, to make your garden more wildlife friendly and to protect the wider environment.