Now that the warmth is going out of the sun, my thoughts turn to providing safe places for creatures to hibernate in my garden. Living in a new-build house, I cannot hope for bats or dormice, but can aspire to attracting hedgehogs, reptiles, amphibians and butterflies to hole up for the winter.
Hedgehogs generally prefer a more rustic home than an off-the-peg box. An old board or logs leant against the fence, covered with leaves and then a thick layer of prunings and brushwood will suffice. The developers have placed a fence around the perimeter, so I will be making entrance points to make sure any passing hedgehog can get into the garden in the first place.
Water is important to attract amphibians; some will hibernate in the bottom of the pond, but others will like gaps in a log, stone or turf pile. Reptiles will also hibernate in these places but are particularly fond of compost heaps.
Ivy is already growing along the fence, so I will be encouraging it to thicken up to make it attractive to hibernating brimstone butterflies, and, hopefully, tortoiseshells will eventually discover the delights of my recently installed potting shed.
I aim to find a balance between providing a home for wildlife and areas of cultivation and relaxation for the human inhabitants – these aims are not mutually incompatible – you can still have that ‘Chelsea’ look and cater for wildlife at the same time. Photograph by Bob Irwin
Posted by Sheila Dearing