The days are finally beginning to warm a little, although it’s still very cold overnight. Spring bulbs are flowering and the grass is starting to grow, maybe you’ve even given your lawn the first cut of the year! Next time you go do do it, why not see if you can find a shady corner of the garden, out of sight, behind a shed or by a compost heap and pile up your grass cuttings there, just this once. You will have made a handy den for any passing slow worms to nest in.
March is breeding time for frogs, toads and newts and there are a couple of things we can do to help them. If you haven’t got a pond in your garden, consider introducing one, however small, even a washing up bowl, an old tub trug (why do the handles always fall off!) an old Belfast sink or a half barrel would be such a help. Sink your container into the ground and put gravel on its bottom. Fill with rain water as there are so many chemicals in our tap water. Add rocks and water plants together with a means of leaving the water – a raised rock by the edge, or a piece of branch, and you will have created a potential breeding site for our slimey slug eating friends! If you already have an established pond, there are key plants that can help improve even further the potential for breeding. Brooklime and water forget me not planted at the damp edge of the pond are favourites for newts to lay their eggs on, and hornwort and curled pondweed are fantastic oxygenators and provide protection and camouflage for tadpoles.
If you have children, you don’t need me to remind you to always supervise them around water, rigid wire mesh over your small water ponds would give protection when children are in the area!