Meet the author: Kate Bradbury

The wildlife gardening expert transforms an urban space in 365 days.

Meet the author: Kate Bradbury

Kate Bradbury is a wildlife gardener and writer


Why did you write The Bumblebee Flies Anyway?

I wanted to do some nature writing and tell a story. I had no idea my mum’s ill health would play such a dramatic part in the book – I had planned to write about all the wildlife that came into the garden after I’d created it. Which I did as well, of course.


Why garden for wildlife?

I’ve always gardened and the natural world is just an extension of gardening, for me. My love affair with bumblebees started with a nest made in an old duvet, which I wrote about in the book. Everything else has (and does) come after them.


Kate Bradbury's wildlife-friendly garden 


What does wildlife gardening mean to you?

I grew up in the suburbs and have always lived in cities. My gardens have been paved or decked, sliced in two, stripped of life. Wildlife gardening is about restoring habitats that others have taken away. It’s about creating a little oasis of green in a desert of cement. And, hopefully, it’s about making a home for species to live. 


How does nature help us cope in tough times? 

Being in the garden and among wildlife is a constant reminder that life goes on around you no matter what else is going on. When my mum was ill in hospital, the sparrows were still bathing in the pond and the red mason bees were still nesting in the bee hotel.


What is your top wildlife gardening tip?

View your garden as part of a wider habitat and allow wildlife to live without borders – if you have fences and walls, make holes beneath them or in them. Animals need access to your garden in order to feed and breed.


What are your plans for the garden this year?

I’ve just bought a house with my girlfriend that has a 27m west-facing garden. My first job will be to take up the plastic lawn and reclaim the borders from beneath weedsuppressant membrane and pebbles. It seems I’m destined to restore destroyed garden habitats forever.


If you could have any species in your garden, what would it be?

Why, that would be the nightingale. Sadly, only in my dreams, for now …


The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Kate Bradbury (Bloomsbury, £16.99) is about a year of gardening for wildlife in a tiny urban space.


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