Gardening for Wildlife: Attract Birds, Bees & Butterflies

Create a haven for wildlife. In association with the RHS

taught by
Andy McIndoe
4 lessons
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Wildlife Online Gardening Course - in partnership with RHS

Suitable for all abilities

Gardening for wildlife is one of the most fascinating areas of gardening today.  In partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, Andy McIndoe, Chelsea Flower Show Gold record holder will teach you how to create a beautiful garden that attracts birds, bees, insects and other pollinators and mammals.  

Gardening for wildlife doesn’t mean you have to cultivate a wilderness. With a basic understanding of planting and maintenance, it’s possible to create a haven for wildlife and still have an attractive, appealing garden.  

You will learn all about what to plant in the way of trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs, annuals and grasses to benefit insects and birds.  You will learn how to provide a continuity of food supply, habitats and places to breed.  We will also cover whether the garden is a place for wildlife to visit or to live.

This course has been designed and approved by wildlife plant experts at the RHS, together with Andy. 

Our Thanks to the Following Experts for their input:  Helen Bostock, RHS Senior Horticultural Advisor, Dr Andy Salisbury, RHS Senior Entomologist and World renowned wildlife photographer David Tipling, who supplied some of the images contributing to these lectures.

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Lesson Plan

Each lesson starts with a 30 minute video from your expert tutor, which you can watch whenever you like.

After each lesson, practice what you’ve learned with an assignment and receive personalised feedback from your tutor. Each of which should take no longer than 2 hours.

  1. 1. Introduction to the wildlife friendly garden

    In this lesson you will learn how to make your garden wildlife friendly, but still have the garden you want. We will cover the importance of pollinators and think about the continuity of nectar and pollen supply. We will discuss whether you have to go native or whether garden varieties attract wildlife? You will also learn about the difference between making your garden a food source for wildlife versus a habitat. In this lesson we cover an Introduction to meadows, prairies, lawns and ponds. And also consider whether you can discourage undesirable wildlife.

  2. 2. Trees and Shrubs to attract wildlife

    This lecture is deliciously dense in recommendations for trees and shrubs to plant. It's worth asking Andy lots of questions wherever you are gardening in the world, so he can discuss recommendations for your region. Trees and shrubs are the structure plants of the garden and in the wildlife friendly garden they have many roles: as habitats, places to land, roost and shelter and of course as food sources both in terms of their flowers and fruit. If you only have a small garden please don’t think that you cannot accommodate any of these. Many nectar rich and fruit bearing shrubs can be grown in pots and containers and you might even find space for a small tree.

  3. 3. Nectar, Pollen and Seeds to Attract Birds, Bees, Insects & Pollinators

    This week we are going to talk about perennials, annuals and flowerbulbs. These are the plants that will fit into any garden, however small and they are subjects that you can easily add to make your garden more attractive to wildlife. We are trying to achieve a continuity of nectar supply to make our gardens attractive for as long as possible as a destination for bees, other pollinating insects and butterflies to come and feed. This is where this group of plants excels. From the earliest flowerbulbs to the last of the grasses and perennials you should have plants performing for pollinators for at least nine months of the year.

  4. 4. Garden Habitats

    In this lesson you will learn about the benefit of creating habitats - ponds, insect houses and lodges, nesting boxes, climbers and grasses. This lecture is very rich with suggestions for what to plant in a water garden, and the secrets of success with a garden pond. The lecture also goes on to cover the benefits of insect houses, trellises and other forms of habitat creation for wildlife.

How our courses work

You're going to love learning with us!

  • After you buy, you can start whenever you're ready
  • You'll have 4 weeks to complete 4 lessons, study at your own pace
  • You'll likely need 2 1/2 hours per lesson, but you can study whenever it suits you
  • You'll get expert critique from your tutor Andy McIndoe(you'll be able to ask them questions too)
  • We'll pair you up with a group of like-minded classmates from around the world
  • You'll have access to the classroom, content and your classmates for life
  • You'll also gain certification

More questions? Take a look at our frequently asked questions.

Find out more about how our online gardening courses work