Wildlife in the Winter Garden

06 November 2013 | Posted in Gardening by

Ladybird on Autumn LeafFrost on UmbelliferAlthough there needs to be some clearing up done in the garden before the winter there is a lot we can do to keep encouraging the beneficial wildlife that we all have in our gardens. Fallen leaves are plentiful at this time of year and while you obviously wouldn't want your lawn swamped with soggy leaves all over winter leaving some on the borders will act as a mulch and will gradually be broken down by the weather and pulled into the soil by earthworms enriching the life of your soil so you need to create a sensible balance and not be too tidy!

 If you really love the wildlife in your garden you can help by creating little safe havens in quiet areas such as a small pile of logs or a couple of old roof tiles which will be enjoyed by frogs and toads who we need to encourage as they are great slug-hunters! A bunch of twiggy prunings with hollow stems can be a winter home for lacewings and solitary mason bees.

By all means remove old dead bedding plants but when cutting back tatty perennial stems just take a closer look and see if there are ladybirds lurking in the leaf axils or dead leaves and if so ask yourself if you could live with the stems until spring. Don't forget ladybirds have a voracious appetite for aphids and we need to keep them happy all year round. Penstemons, grasses and sedums all have a charm of their own in winter when covered in frost and any plants with autumn and winter seed heads can attract birds such as Goldfinches to your borders.

And of course we mustn't forget the birds they especially deserve a little bit of extra care and attention in winter so get the feeders topped up and the fat balls out so they can feast and grow fat before the really hard weather bites.

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