Make Your Garden Wildlife-Friendly
Make your garden or veg plot wildlife friendly this winter. As temperatures drop, food and water often becomes scarce for garden wildlife from spikey hedgehogs to fluttering birds.
In a few simple steps you can create your own haven for visiting wildlife, who’ll reward you by ridding your garden of troublesome pests and keeping your plants pollinated.
Set Up A Picnic Area For Birds
Birds are a natural predator of common garden pests, so attracting them is the perfect way to save money on pest control measures. However during winter, these pests can be harder to come by, so it is especially important to put food out regularly.
Provide birds with fatty foods such as fat balls or Homemade Bird Cakes (lard and packed with seeds) and help keep up their energy levels between meals.
If you’re not too squeamish then leave some dried mealworms in a Bird Feeder Cup. The coloured cups are a great way to attract birds whilst brightening up your garden, plot or plant pots. Offer kitchen scraps and fruit with a handy Bird Feeder which allows birds to perch on the foot rest and dine in style.
It’s important to keep water ice-free so birds can get the hydration they need. Floating a small ball, such as a ping-pong ball, on the surface of the water can prevent it from freezing.
Did you know?
Birds will need a place to rest after all that eating. If you’re a dab hand with a hammer why not make your own bird house with this handy RSPB Guide and help them find a good roosting site to help them survive the winter.
If you’d rather leave the hammer and nails for another day, then visiting birds will love this Bird Nesting Box. Cleverly designed with changeable entrance sizes so you can decide which species of bird to attract.
Help Hedgehogs Prepare to Hibernate
During autumn, Hedgehogs will be eating as much as possible in preparation for hibernating in winter. So make sure they have plenty of access to food before and after hibernation.
Hedgehogs will happily munch on up to 80 slugs in one night. However they still love other foods such as minced meat, tinned dog and cat food (chicken or turkey flavour), as well as crushed cat biscuits.
Top Tip: Never feed hedgehogs milk, as it can play havoc with their digestion and make them ill. Provide a shallow dish of water to keep visiting hedgehogs hydrated.
Next step - Create a warm friendly home for hedgehogs. Leave a few areas to grow wild as hedgehogs love leaves, organic debris and vegetation, so putting a pile together in a quiet area of your garden can create a cosy home for them.
If you want to give your hedgehog some five star hospitality, place a Hogilo Hedgehog Retreat in your garden. Perfect for hibernation during the winter and as a nesting box in the summer. This offers them a predator-proof retreat and feeding station, and extra protection from lawnmowers and garden tools.
Top Tip: With Bonfire Night approaching, be sure to check bonfires for sleeping hedgehogs before striking any matches or even when mowing or strimming long grass.
Did you know?
We’ve lost a third of our spikey friends in the last 10 years. Any late hedgehog litters found after September that have not reached the critical weight of 1Ib (450 grams), are unlikely to survive winter so may need additional warmth and feeding. Click here and get involved in Wild About Gardens Week from the 26th October and see what else you can do to help declining hedgehog populations.
Bats – Don’t Believe The Tales
UK Bats won’t suck your blood but they will definitely take care of blood sucking mosquitoes. Our planet would be a truly different place without bats. Bats are essential pollinators of flowers, they spread seeds and play a big part in stopping insect populations from getting out of control. Even bat droppings (Guano) make a rich natural fertiliser.
You can help declining bat populations by providing them with a warm home which remains at a constant temperature throughout winter. Sadly over recent decade’s British bat populations have declined considerably as a result of habitat loss and human disturbance.
Bats may roost in trees, caves, churches, bridges, tunnels and even our own homes! They prefer dark, quiet places where they won't be disturbed.
Did you know?
They will generally find their own shelter, however by planting a few night scented flowers (for example, Evening Primrose, Four O'clocks or French Marigolds) and adding a Bat Box to a tree trunk or wall of a building, they’ll soon repay you by feeding on troublesome pests.
Bats feed on insects, so why not introduce a few plants to your garden which will attract moths and other night flying insects for bats to feed on.
Build A Butterfly House
Butterflies pollinate our crops and flowers and as such play a critical role in our food supply, playing a crucial supporting role to bees. Sadly many of the 58 species of butterfly native to the UK are under threat of extinction. Give them a helping hand this winter and provide them with a safe warm habitat in a few easy steps:
1) Use an old shoe box which has a narrow slot cut into one side.
2) The slot should be about 1cm wide by 5cm tall, also punch some more holes in the box for ventilation.
3) Put the butterfly in the box and place the box in a cool place away from direct sunshine. Make sure the box cannot get wet and have the slot pointing towards the brightest part of the garden.
4) The butterfly will stay in the box for the winter but if it does warm it will find its way out of the box via the slot on its own.
5) When it comes out after hibernation it will repay your kindness by pollinating your plants and munching on aphids and other pests.
Did you know?
If you’re short of time or shoe boxes, why not treat your garden to a gorgeous Butterfly Habitat & Feeder with hibernation chamber. Cleverly designed to help butterflies survive a harsh winter and help declining butterfly populations. Its central chamber provides a safe and dry area for butterflies to lay their eggs, nest and hibernate over winter.
Need further help?
Our Gardening Angels are here to help you grow strong, healthy plants with bumper harvests. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions on 0845 602 3774 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always here to help!