RSPB Scotland calls for everyone to join the wildlife-friendly planting revolution

Molly Martin

Thursday 14 April 2022

wild flower meadow

RSPB Scotland is calling for everyone to join the wildlife-friendly planting revolution after a YouGov survey revealed that just under three quarters of people in Scotland are now doing something to help wildlife in their garden.

·       RSPB Scotland is calling for everyone to prioritise pollinator-friendly plants as a new YouGov survey shows that 71% of people try to encourage wildlife to their garden.

·       The survey revealed that 40% of Scots now consider pollinators when choosing what plants to grow, 36% grow flowers specifically for wildlife and 21% have already chosen to use peat-free compost.

·       93% of people surveyed in Scotland had access to a green space such as private, shared or community gardens, allotments or balconies, and that half of people feed the birds in these spaces (50%).


RSPB Scotland is calling for everyone to join the wildlife-friendly planting revolution after a YouGov survey revealed that just under three quarters of people in Scotland are now doing something to help wildlife in their garden or outside space (with 17% trying a lot, 27% trying a fair amount, and 27% trying a little).

The survey, commissioned by the RSPB, also revealed the wide range of ways that people are already gardening with wildlife in mind - nearly half of people (40%) consider how a plant can benefit pollinators when choosing what to grow in their garden, a fifth (22%) leave areas of grass to grow long for nature, and a quarter avoid using pesticide such as weedkillers and slug repellents (26%). With UK gardens and balconies covering over 4,000km2, three times the size of Fife, all these actions add up to a massed network of refuges for wildlife.

Many previously familiar garden species are in decline. Scottish starling numbers have fallen by almost a third from 1995-2017 according to the BTO, and in 2017 the Scottish Government reported that since 1980 the number of pollinating insects in Scotland have declined by over half (51%).

Planting for wildlife in gardens and outdoor spaces presents a fantastic opportunity to help struggling wildlife and is also a hugely popular activity. When asked in the survey to choose what one thing they would most like to do in a new empty outdoor space, half of people in Scotland (50%) chose having more plants (either having a wildflower meadow (most popular at 19%), or planting trees, shrubs, or flowers).

The survey also showed the enthusiasm people in Scotland have for welcoming wildlife into their gardens. Two thirds of Scottish respondents want to see birds (68%) and pollinators (63%) in their local space, two groups of species that are easily attracted by growing wildlife-friendly plants. 


Adrian Thomas, the RSPB’s wildlife gardening expert, said: “I’m thrilled to hear how many people are already taking steps to help wildlife in their gardens and outdoor spaces. It feels like a movement is underway in which people are recognising that our gardens can be wonderful, shared spaces for us and for wildlife, to the benefit of all.

“To play your part, the best and easiest place to start is to grow more plants. They provide varied, healthy food sources, and offer shelter and nesting spots. And the lovely thing is that lots of plants that are good for wildlife are also beautiful, colourful and richly scented, making outdoor spaces more welcoming, relaxing, and interesting for all of us to enjoy. So this Easter weekend, why not give planting a go, maybe starting with some wildflower seeds? They produce beautiful flowers in just a few weeks, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you see pollinators buzzing into your garden!”


Here are five wildlife-friendly, easy-growing plants to get anybody started:

·       Sunflowers – beautiful and easy to grow from seed, these classic flowers are great for pollinators and are a great food source for birds when they set seed.

·       Cornfield annuals – for just a couple of pounds you can have the glow of red poppies and blue cornflowers within weeks

·       Mini-meadow – just let parts of your lawn grow for a few months, or even better until late summer, and be rewarded with drifts of clovers and other meadow flowers

·       Lavender, the familiar lovely-smelling herb that’s brilliant for bees and butterflies.

·       Foxgloves, tall purple, pink and white flowers that are bee magnets.


For more suggestions, tips, and inspiration on how to give planting a go and join the wildlife-planting revolution visit



All figures, unless shown otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2063 UK adults, 173 in Scotland. The survey was undertaken between 25th – 28th March 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Tagged with: Country: Scotland