Garden Wildlife Week – 1st to 7th June
1st Jun 2020
It’s Garden Wildlife Week, and with families across the country spending more time in their gardens than ever before, we’ve had more time (and reason) to appreciate the natural world. During lockdown, many people have reported sightings and visits from birds and animals they’d not seen recently. Many of us also like to share our outside space with wildlife, so we asked our lawn expert and wildlife enthusiast Ian Stephens for his tips for catering for creatures great and small.
Feathered friends: Put up bird feeders with a mix of food types. Use a good seed mix in one for finches and sparrows. Peanut feeders are great for blue tits, great tits and even squirrels. Don’t forget the birds who feed on the ground though; dried mealworms and sultanas are very popular. Feeders are really important for adult birds in summer so they can feed the high energy/protein food like insects they find to their babies.
Hydration: Putting out water for birds and animals is crucial at the moment with conditions so dry. Finding fresh water can be tricky for them, especially in urban environments. Any shallow vessel such as an upturned dustbin lid or a small dish will do, as long as it is regularly topped up.
Wildlife corner: Set aside a corner of the garden that can be left a bit wild. Clear the ground a bit and sprinkle a wild flower seed mix to attract pollinators. Stack a log pile for things for creatures to hide in. Make space for a hedgehog house. Making your own can be a great family project! Put down a small sheet of metal and create a mini hollow underneath. If you’re really lucky you might get slowworms and snakes.
Accomodation: It’s great to see wildlife, but getting these visitors to stay a little longer is even better. How about putting up a range of new homes for wildlife? Bird boxes, bat boxes, bee houses and bug hotels are easy to make or to buy.
Compost heap: This may sound a really obvious thing to have, but it’s a great place for worms, frogs, toads, beetles and other bugs to break down greenery from your garden and suitable food waste.
Special surprises: I’m an avid orchid-spotter having nurtured a colony on the golf course I managed previously. Look out for hidden gems around your garden. It’s surprising what I find when I’m visiting my customers.
Keep an eye out: How about making a list of the birds, animals and insects that you see in your garden through the week, take part in the Wildlife Trust’s #30dayswild annual nature challenge, or help conservation projects by taking part in a national survey?
While the weather’s dry, it feels good to sit and take in all that’s around you in the garden. You don’t need to identify all that you see, just know that you enjoy what you are looking at. The feeling of grass beneath your feet is truly one of life’s pleasures. If your lawn is in need of some TLC, my Lawn Master colleagues and I are here to help.
Hedgehog image courtesy of the BHPS.