Autumn is a pivotal season for your wildlife garden visitors. Following these simple steps should set you in a good stead for Winter, where your garden will provide a perfect sanctuary for a whole host of wildlife.
The Importance of a Winter Garden
As well as providing a safe haven for a whole host of creatures, a good wildlife garden will attract flocks of birds.
The punishing winter weather and the lack of food in the countryside means our gardens become even more important for our feathered friends.
It’s really important that birds have a chance to feed in the winter, as it increases the chances of breeding for the coming year. But your garden doesn’t need to look untidy to achieve this. Natural foods for your birds can look fantastic – pear, apples and brightly coloured berries on your trees all work beautifully.
As we delve deeper into winter, birds will rely more on the types of food you put out. Bird Food experts Kennedy Wild Bird Food say this is when your garden birds need feeders and suet balls the most. It is also worthwhile investing in a squirrel proof bird feeder, to ensure that their food is not being stolen by greedy grey squirrels
Hygiene is also important; clean your tables and feeders regularly with sterilized fluid, and get into the habit of washing them regularly.
Things you can do right now
Now is the perfect time to get your garden prepared for the coming year. Luckily, it’s not winter temperatures yet, so take this an opportunity to get in the garden and look around to see where you can add new wildlife features, such as a cozy birdhouse or a log pile.
Make sure you pay special attention to your hedges and flowerbeds. Now is also a great time to single out the plants that are not offering much to your garden. Liven up your garden by swapping them for a species of plant that will attract more wildlife and thrive in the colder weather.
Replace your existing hedges, or even plant some new ones! By doing this now, you will give them time to establish roots, which will in turn, add to the overall diversity and activities that take place in your garden.
Top Winter Gardening Tips
- Cut your hedges when winter comes to an end. They will provide a valuable shelter for birds, as well as giving them longer to enjoy the berries
- If you have English Ivy growing, try and resist the urge to cut it back. Wait until March so the berries remain available and so that the foliage can provide a perfect feeding habitat for birds such as blue tits – who love to gnaw on insects!
- Try planting different types of Ivy, with a range of patterns and shapes to create a powerful visual impact
- Between October and January is the best time to clean out your pond as wildlife is at it’s lowest ebb
- If it eventually reaches sub zero temperatures and your pond does freeze over, do not let the ice stick, as your water will be starved of oxygen. This is easily solved with a pan of hot water placed on top of the surface