Winter is a time where your garden may seem very lifeless. But, that is only because the life is hidden away. Birds, mammals and insects all need to work extra hard during the winter months in order to survive the seriously low temperatures. With that in mind, what can you do to help wildlife weather the cold spurts during 2017’s winter holidays?
Frogs, newts and toads will likely be the wildlife that benefits most from your pond over chilly months. They tend to winter beneath logs, leaf piles, stones or even plant pots. The mud at the bottom of your pond is also a popular spot to keep warm and well away from any frost.
To help them, you can stop your pond from freezing over by floating a tennis ball in it. This prevents complete oxygenation and means that the frogs at the bottom are much less likely to suffocate. A rock pile is also a good addition to any pond, as it provides additional shelter from temperature lows.
Autumn and winter is the time of year when you can most expect a feathered visitor to your garden. Their natural source of worms and insects dry up in the winter, due to hibernation, so they rely on garden bird feeders greatly.
Leaving bird food such as seeds, nuts, fruit and other supplements is the best way to help your feathered friends. If you don’t have a bird table or feeder, then leaving seeds on the leaves of shrubs is also an option. You can expect to see some rarer birds as a result; such as waxwings, blackcaps, bullfinches and even red wings. The classic Robin and blue tit will also, undoubtedly, make an appearance.
Insects, while not everyone’s favourite garden wildlife, have a hard time over winter. So, hibernating is the only sensible solution for these delicate creatures. Bees dig into the soil or hide in leaf piles, whereas butterflies, moths and spiders can be more often than not found hiding in a garage. Loose bark becomes a safe haven for ladybirds and lacewings.
To survive the winter, insects need protection from the icy cold. You can give this to them by creating effective nooks and crannies in your garden space. Creating twig piles and leaving sponges soaked in sugar water are also popular ways to help your resident bugs.
Birds don’t hibernate over winter, so keeping warm is vital to their survival. Especially during the long and sometimes brutally cold winter nights.
A nest box won’t be used for the traditional rearing of chicks as they are in winter, however, you may find that some birds will bunker down overnight in winter to maintain warmth. To help with this you can clean out the box from the Spring nesting in order to give them their best chance overnight.
You may find that any cover you use to protect your outdoor furniture becomes a bug hotel during the colder months. This isn’t a worry, as you can easily wipe down and clean your wicker furniture come Spring. The high quality of the pieces means that they can easily help your garden furniture during the winter while serving as the perfect social space for you and your family during the summer.