Simple pleasures
October 25, 2015
Woodchat shrike
October 25, 2015

Time to think about hibernating

Photo Bob Irwin

Photo Bob Irwin

Photo Bob Irwin

Photo Bob Irwin

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