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How to help wildlife in your garden through the winter

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None How to help wildlife in your garden through the winter

Post by Gizmo on 2012-11-25, 02:54

How to help wildlife in your garden through the winter

How to help wildlife through the winter - Somerset Wildlife Trust.
November 2012. Food for wildlife gets scarce in autumn, and many species may
need a helping hand to get stocked up for the cold winter. If you grow
the right things, your garden can provide vital sustenance for wildlife.

This is actually a great time of year to be in your garden, and
there are wildlife-spotting opportunities a-plenty. Here are some
wildlife gardening tips to brighten up your autumn, plus find out which
species are particularly busy at this time of year.

Blooming lovely
Nectar is a great source of food for insects which can, in turn, keep the
birds well fed. Planting some late blooming flowers will help to provide
nectar - michaelmas daisies and asters are a good place to start. Ivy
also provides late blooms that offer nectar to bees and butterflies, the
latter is increasingly present later in the year due to a changing
climate.

Bee kind
Few species are as important in the garden as bees. UK numbers are
declining dramatically which does not bode well for keen wildlife
gardeners. If you want some autumn customers in the garden, it is
important to make sure your garden is bee-friendly - because once autumn
comes around all the soft fruit they have pollinated will provide food
for birds, insects and mammals alike.
If you want to attract bees to your garden, plant:
• White, blue, purple and yellow blooms.
• A range of different species - these might include bluebells, poppies, cornflowers and snap dragons.
• Viper's bugloss is a favourite of almost all bee species.
• Edible plants including soft fruits like strawberries and raspberries.
You might also want to build a ‘bee hotel' so the bees have somewhere to nest. To find out how visit click here .

The importance of ivy...
Ivy can press all the wrong buttons with gardeners - but it is fantastic
for wildlife and does far less damage than people think. Leave a healthy
crop in autumn and you will be doing many species a huge favour:
• Insects like butterflies can take cover amongst the ivy during the winter months
• The flowers can provide insect species with nectar through late autumn and early winter
• Birds can feed on the berries throughout the winter when other food supplies are scarce
Overcome your instincts and let it grow!

Happy hedges
Come autumn, thrushes and blackbirds will be scouring the gardens looking
for berries, nuts and seeds. If you have a healthy hedgerow on the go,
dripping with elderberries, blackberries and rosehips, they won't be
able to resist. These hedgerows can also provide a feast for insects.
Your garden is bound to be a hive of activity in autumn with all that
food on offer. Hedgerows also provide valuable shelter for wildlife.

To find out more about planting hedges for wildlife visit London Wildlife Trust's gardening website.
Leave the mess alone!

It is very tempting to have big garden tidy up once summer's glory is over
but this is a crucial time for wildlife. If you disturb creatures now,
they can waste energy trying to find a new habitat - the last thing they
need with winter on the way. Give them plenty of places to take
shelter,
For example:
• Lavender and other evergreen shrubs are handy for insects to cozy down in, and butterflies rely on evergreen climbers
• A small pond makes a great refuge for frogs
• A pile of rocks and bark can be a haven for toads and newts, that like to squash into small spaces
For more tips visit www.wildlondon.org.uk/gardening and download a free
Wildlife Gardening Pack and ‘How To' guides, including how to build a
pond.
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