Garden for wildlife

So following on from the shortest darkest Winter days, the distraction of Christmas celebrations and the hustle and bustle of frenetic January sales when our gardens were the last thing on our minds we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of February and our gardens are slowly but surely showing signs of coming back to life.


Despite the still bitter overnight cold and biting winds the days are gradually lengthening, the snowdrops are putting on a show and soon Spring will arrive and wildlife will once more become active.


Now’s a good time therefore to give some thought to what we can do in our gardens this year to encourage and support bees, butterflies and garden birds to name just a few.   This doesn’t have to be a daunting task whatsoever as even changing one thing alone can be of help to our wildlife.


For example providing a bird bath can add to your own viewing pleasure as well as giving your local garden birds a facility to keep their plumage healthy and in good order.


Placing a saucer of fresh water at ground level and keeping it topped up will be appreciated by hedgehogs when they emerge from hibernation.


Planting a variety or two of plants which will produce nutritious seeds after flowering to support the birds in Autumn.  e.g Sunflowers of which there are now many different varieties, heights and shades to look good in your garden.  Or perhaps Kniphophia (red hot poker) which will also be visited by small birds for their seeds.


Maybe you have a part of a border or lawn that could become a mini wildflower meadow?  Buying a packet of mixed wildflowers is an inexpensive way to bring masses of varied colour into your garden and the nectar-rich flowers will attract butterflies and bees.


Consider adding a pond.  This doesn’t have to be a big or expensive feature as even a small amount of water will bring in frogs which will help to control your slug population naturally and without the use of any chemicals which can harm predators of the slugs such as birds and hedgehogs.


Perhaps you could plant even just one evergreen shrub to provide birds with shelter, a roosting or nesting spot, camouflage from predators and food if its a berrying kind.   An excellent one to consider is Pyracantha which is in deep glossy green leaf all year round, is smothered in clusters of tiny white flowers in Spring supporting pollinators and then produces masses of bright small berries for birds to feast on in Autumn.    It can be grown as a wall shrub or as a ground-covering bush.


So next time you have a few minutes to spare have a good look around at your garden and consider what you could add or change in 2018 to help our precious wildlife.   Planting can be started at any time of year unless your soil is waterlogged or frozen solid so don’t hesitate to start the good work!


Hallswood Sanctuary is planning to sell plants of all types at our Events this year including water/bog plants, perennials, wildflowers and unusual indoor plants so please do come along to see what what is available.  Our next Event is at Hellesdon High School on Middletons Lane on Saturday the 17th of March 11am – 1pm ( cafe opens at 10am)


We are additionally delighted to take this opportunity to announce that the Sanctuary has been chosen to host an open afternoon this year at the Bishop of Norwich’s Private Garden adjacent to Norwich Cathedral to raise much needed funds for the care of our animals.   More details will follow nearer the time but please pop the date onto your calendars straightaway – its Sunday the 9th of September and is a rare chance for the public to visit this beautiful unseen private garden.

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