By Guest Author|
October 18, 2021|
4 min read
With the leaves turning crisp and crimson and the early mornings twinkling under a small dusting of frost, it can only mean one thing – winter is on its way. While winter may be a time for snuggling up beside the warmth of flickering log fires and festivities filled with family, for wildlife it’s a time that isn’t quite so cosy. Follow these 10 steps to turn your back garden, or even balcony, into a wildlife haven that will help these critical creatures flourish all year round.
Feed the birds
Not only do birds bring joy with their tinkling bird songs (though, admittedly, the song of the pigeon isn’t quite so joyous) they are invaluable to our ecosystem as they play an integral role in dispersing seeds. Help them on their merry mission by putting out bird feed – protein-rich fat balls in Spring and seeds in Winter. It’s best to place your little bird canteens in a sheltered spot, such as beside leafy foliage, in order to provide protection from predators. Why not try one of our eco-friendly bird feeders to get you started.
Create a hedgehog door
Hedgehogs – small, spiky balls of utter cuteness – aren’t particularly known for their fence scaling prowess and for this there’s good reason. Help your neighbourhood hedgehogs out by cutting a hedgehog-sized hole in the bottom of your fence, allowing them to easily snuffle into your garden and stop by for a visit.
Build a bug hotel
Hey, spiders need to get away for a weekend of room service and plush, fancy hotel bath robes every once in a while too. Create your very own creepy-crawly Ritz by stacking a pile of mossy rocks, twigs, and rotten wood in a corner of your garden and watch as your critter guests hurriedly scramble to check in.
Make your own compost
Credit – Wearth
One man’s trash really is another man’s (or creature’s) treasure. Transform your unwanted kitchen waste into nutritionally rich humus (no not the type you have with pitta) using a compost heap. Spread the decomposed marvel across your soil and not only will the wildlife benefit greatly from its nutrients, but your flower beds will too. Note – to avoid unwelcome guests such as rats, only put raw foods in your compost, not cooked. Collect compost in style with our gorgeous range of kitchen compost bins.
Free the grass
Although long, tangled grass may not be the neatest of lawn styles, uncut grass is certainly the best for our ecosystem as it attracts all sorts of species. If you’re reluctant to fully commit to the jungle look, stick within your comfort zone and simply miss a small patch of grass with the lawnmower – the wildlife will certainly thank you for it.
Flowers, flowers, flowers
Credit – Wearth
Not only are flowers stunning and capable of transforming your back garden into a cottagecore Instagrammer’s dream, they’re the queens of the ecosystem and provide food for a plethora of insects, including the oh-so-important bees. Although spring is famed for its burst of floral goodness, there are many flowers that bloom in winter too, such as winter honeysuckle, snowdrops, and pansies.
Let those weeds live
Let’s be honest, what’s the difference between a regular plant and a weed? Not much other than that a weed has grown without a human’s permission – shocking behaviour I know. Weeds also provide valuable sustenance to insects (including, often, to our friends the bees) so are a great addition to your garden’s ecosystem. Next time you reach for that weed killer, stop and give those weeds the chance to grow.
More is more
When it comes to growing trees and shrubs, don’t pick one over the other, a variety of both will truly enrich your ecosystem. Wildlife will benefit from the range of heights that such a mixture brings – think of it as if you’re creating a mini city skyline, some prefer to live in a town house, whereas others seek high-rise living. In addition to providing shelter, trees and shrubs supply crucial resources such as materials for nesting and, species dependant, fruit and nuts.
Add a bird bath
While ponds are great, and we’ll get to those in a moment, the depth can be slightly too overwhelming for creatures such as birds and hedgehogs. By adding a bird bath you’re creating a shallower source of water that is perfect for little creatures searching for a drink or the opportunity to take a dip.
Dig a pond
Ponds attract a uniquely diverse collection of creatures, elevating your garden’s ecosystem to a whole new level. They don’t have to be anything too fancy, even fixing a bucket in a hole in the ground will suffice, but, if you do decide to go for something larger, make sure to surround your pond with elements like rocks and logs that will help wildlife exit the pond with ease.
By Lydia Dronsfield