Our gardens are becoming an increasingly important refuge for wildlife and there is so much we can do in our gardens to create an ideal environment from which they can thrive.
Make sure that bird feeders are topped up regularly with high-energy (high fat) foods such as suet or peanuts so they can survive over the winter on the fat they store. It’s important to make sure that fresh water is left out for them daily, and not left to freeze over during the night. We have a wide range of bird feeders available from seed feeders, feeding stations to bird tables and high fat treats for local birds.
Providing safe shelter for the birds such as bird boxes will be of great help, you could also plant evergreen bushes, hedges and trees, planting berry bearing plants in particular will be beneficial as a shelter and a natural food source. Pyracantha for example is a pretty shrub that produces magnificent red, yellow, or orange berries in the autumn and winter, the traditional holly and ivy plants make perfect homes for the birds too! You might also want to create woodpiles with lots of nooks to provide little pockets of shelter for birds and insects too.
A bird bath is one of the most effective ways to attract more birds to your garden and they make a beautiful focal point too. Most importantly though it’s vitally important for birds to drink from and bathe their feathers, alternatively a shallow bowl of water will be sufficient. We have recently taken delivery of these rather splendid stone bird baths, we also have beautiful shallow bird bath/feeders which are ideal for nuts, seed etc or to keep feathers in tiptop condition!
Prior to the weather reaching cold temperatures, you can help the hedgehogs and other garden visitors by creating spaces in the garden where they can shelter and hibernate. Hedgehogs are one of the few mammals that are true hibernators and will be looking for log or leaf piles, a compost heap, or a hedgehog house. According to hedgehogstreet.org research has shown that during the hibernation period, hedgehogs can move between nests every few weeks, so even if you think it’s too late or that hedgehogs don’t visit your garden, its still possible that they will. We stock hedgehog houses and specially formulated hedgehog food, remember never to feed hedgehogs milk or bread.
When there’s not much gardening to be done this time of year, it’s a good time to plan and prepare your spring garden and start to think about the little tweaks you can make to accommodate and support wildlife. Our outside area is filled with established plants that attract bees and butterflies. If you’re green fingered and enjoy growing plants from seed we have an excellent variety available. Popular choices are wildflower mix, rudbeckia, nasturtium, sunflowers, and lots more. Just look for the bee friendly logo on the packet. To encourage beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, and ladybirds an insect box will make an attractive feature in the garden that won’t take up much space either. For more information on how to attract wildlife into your garden click here.