The colder months can be harsh on wildlife, with many finding their watering holes have frozen over or their cosy dry home is feeling damp. Thankfully, with just a few easy steps you can help create safe places for wildlife to tuck themselves away and hibernate for winter, or to rest until they’ve found just the right moment to catch their dinner.
To provide some helpful tips, garden experts Ryobi have put together some easy steps you can take to help make a sanctuary for winter foragers.
- Provide food
Although this may seem straightforward, this isn’t a suggestion to leave some leftovers outside your backdoor. Something that can really help wildlife is late flowering plants like holly, asters and sedums, as well as bird feeders and bird baths. Ensure these are maintained with the frost knocked off them so that they can be used all through the winter. Collect vegetable peelings and add them to your compost to encourage any nesting mice to have a nibble.
- Create safe places
Give wildlife a helping hand by creating secret homes for them with things you already have in your garden. Turn some old plant pots upside down and place near a greenhouse or shed – somewhere you may find toads keeping warm during winter. Drill some holes through an old log or fallen tree to be used as nesting homes.
- Don’t keep things tidy
Leave a corner in your garden that’s designated to tiny intruders, using leaves, mud, branches and compost to create homes and cosy places to tunnel. Dead plant stems are also useful for creepy crawlies to bury into when it gets cold.
- Build a bug hotel
When the leaves start dropping it is the perfect time to start building a bug hotel. Collect twigs, pinecones, leaves and bits of string and cardboard to fashion into a home with using a glue gun for bugs to live in. Position these around your garden at different heights to attract different bugs.
Helene Keary at Ryobi comments: “For many, winter is a time for tidying up the garden and hiding away in the warmth until the new year starts. This can be greatly inefficient for some gardens though, regressing on the hard work in attracting wildlife and animals that you have been doing throughout the summer.
“Although you don’t need to do much, one of our key tips is to focus on creating toasty homes using things like plant pots, paving slabs and fallen logs. Something that can often get missed too is leaving your pond to freeze over. This will remove any oxygen under the surface and can be detrimental to its residents. Put a hot mug of tea on any frozen bits to help them thaw.
”Hopefully our tips can provide inspiration and advice for keeping your garden a thriving community – even when you’re sat by the fire inside.”