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Monday - Friday 8.30am - 4pm
It’s getting colder and I’m definitely feeling the chill!
Soon the leaves will drop off the trees and I will be merrily decking the halls, only taking quick glances at my garden as I walk past the window in a thick jumper with a hot cup of tea- but this time of year we can’t just forget about the little creatures that make a home in our gardens all year round!
From the hedgehogs, the birds and the squirrels right down to the insects, the beetles and the ladybirds, there are some small, easy things you can do that will both save you some effort and support wildlife in these colder months!
And whilst there are 10 ideas here, it’s important to remember that you certainly don’t have to do all 10 at once, even small manageable changes can make all the difference!
I don’t know about you but I absolutely love watching the birds in my garden. It just wouldn’t be right without them, even the ones that have decided to be my personal alarm clocks! And supporting birds throughout the colder months is so easy, there is so much guidance available!
Nest boxes are super easy to find these days and even easier to pop up- they’re a really low effort way to support wildlife as it can be used year on year if you pop it up in your garden and keep an eye on any yearly maintenance which should be laid out in the instructions of whatever nest box you choose, it will provide the perfect home for your garden birds!
And you can even click here to browse some really amazing birdhouses that are made in association with the national trust and would make a lovely addition to your garden.
Birds don’t hibernate during winter, which means they have to find food throughout the entire cold season when many of their other food sources like fruits and seeds are in very short supply so one of the easiest ways to support them is by providing a food source!
A mixture of fat balls and seeds (particularly black sunflower seeds) would make an excellent diet for birds in your garden this winter, just pick yourself out a bird feeder, RSPB has an amazing bird feeder buying guide which you can find here, and keep it topped up with a good supply of food so you can sit back and enjoy watching the birds visit your garden for breakfast!
We even have another post on our blog detailing a whole 8 reasons why you should get yourself a bird feeder for your garden- there are so many benefits to having one- and they’re not even just restricted to being good for the birds, evidence suggests that having a bird feeder can be beneficial to your mental health too!
I’ve always loved hedgehogs, they’re so cute, and they’re another animal that could use some support during the Autumn months as they prepare themselves for hibernation over winter. They will be on the lookout for food sources to add to their body fat and a nice warm home to make a nest in and, like birds, there are some really easy things you can do to support them!
Though a hedgehog home is slightly less common than bird nest boxes, they are just as easy to set up and can also be used time and again. Hedgehog homes are typically covered by leaves with a narrow entrance that opens into a larger covered space- the wildlife trust has an amazing tutorial on how to build your own if you’re feeling creative or you can find a wide range of pre-made options on the RSPB website!
Leaving food out for them this time of year is a great way to support them as they prepare for hibernation- however, it’s so important to leave the right things out for them! Avoid bread and milk as they are highly lactose intolerant and bread provides very little useful nutrients, instead put out wet tinned dog or cat food and even crushed up dog or cat biscuits.
It’s important to be careful when doing this as you might not want to encourage any other animals in your garden so maybe save this one for if you know you have hedgehog friends around and you have the time to watch the food you put out!
This one is so easy and I’m sure you’ll all agree when I say that having an excuse for letting your grass and weeds grow out is a welcome relief. Letting your garden grow wild throughout the winter can be beneficial to the entire ecosystem that inhabits your outdoor space, it gives insects a haven to thrive which in turn provides a food source for other animals and it couldn’t be easier- just stop mowing!
The RSPB even has an article outlining their task to let it grow and, as they suggest, you can even get creative and start mowing shapes into your lawn, sounds like the perfect time for a Halloween maze anyone?
And how about getting prepared and planting late flowering plants amongst your summer bloomers, plants like ivy that will come into their own during the later, colder months make an excellent source of food for birds when everything else has dropped its leaves for the winter. They are amazing in a border around your lawn or patio space that can act as a playground for insects and birds whilst you retain some space for entertaining in your garden!
I love stepping through the crunchy leaves that are all frosted in the early Autumn/ Winter mornings and yet I always step over the larger piles just in case the mound of leaves is acting as a home for something else!
Fallen leaves make an excellent warm hideout for small mammals and a wonderful food source for insects as the leaves decay, so instead of taking your leaves to the bin just sweep them into a corner and leave them! I usually let them pile up down one side of the house and clear them away in spring, another really easy (super low effort) way to help your garden wildlife this Autumn!
Just like the leaves, letting your fallen fruits from fruit trees remain in your garden is a great food source for small mammals and insects! My neighbour has an apple tree and right around late September, early October they’ll all come off in the wind and so many birds, squirrels and bugs alike benefit from them so just let them be, or pick them up and add them to your compost bin or leaf pile so they remain available for the wildlife!
Speaking of a compost bin, these can also make an excellent food source! Just open up a small hole in the bottom of your bin (large enough for small mammals but not too large so that the more troublesome creatures can get in) and you can make a haven for insects and small mammals!- all using your waste products!
Insects are so easy to forget about because of their tiny size (and the fact that they’re slightly less cute than the other members of our garden) but they’re just as important and could benefit from your help just as much! They are an essential part of your garden’s ecosystem and they support all of the other cuter garden guests so providing them a dry home for the winter is a great way to give them a helping hand too!
Turning your empty plant pants pots on their side and filling them with sticks, twigs and some leaves makes the perfect bug hotel that’s dry and protected from the elements!! And then, hopefully they'll choose to stay there instead of joining you in your living room!
So, now you’re equipped with all the knowledge you need to be the excellent hosts to garden wildlife, why not browse our wildlife designs here- we have everything from gorgeous hedgehogs to bees and butterflies. And a whole range of other designs to complement any garden or outdoor space so why not check out our full range of metal garden gifts here!
Any products mentioned that are not from The Flory's Collection are all simply suggestions, we have not been asked to mention them nor are we liable if you have trouble shopping with these businesses.