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RSPB giving nature a home

 

 

 

Don’t over tidy your garden
this autumn

September 2017

black bird

We have just received great news from the RSPB...don’t do too much in your garden this autumn! They are saying less work outside equates to more wildlife.

Their key tips include:

Don’t tidy your autumn garden
At this time of year it’s really important to avoid the urge to cut back and tidy too much – it’s more beneficial for nature to leave any decaying plants intact, as they create a cosy layer for garden mammals and insects to snuggle down in when winter hits. Hollowed stems and seedheads also provide a safe insect hidey-hole from frosts.
If you have any dead wood in your autumn garden, or if you’re already sweeping up rust coloured leaves, gather them into a pile in a corner of your greenspace – again insects and small mammals, including our struggling hedgehogs, will thank you for creating a snug home for them.


Ivy is great for garden wildlife
Ivy is one of the best plants for your garden wildlife all year round, but especially during autumn and winter. Whereas most nectar rich plants are starting to die off, ivy’s flowers are only just beginning to blossom, providing a vital late source of food for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Ivy’s evergreen leaves offer crucial shelter for birds and insects even throughout the colder months, when other natural cover is thinning out.
And don’t forget ivy’s ripe, winter jewels – its berries. These are a crucial, calorie-rich source of food for your feathered garden friends, just when they need that extra energy hit to enable them to maintain their body temperatures. If you do one thing this autumn, nurture your garden ivy – and if you don’t have one, plant one!


The garden bird vanishing act
During September you may worry where your much-loved garden birds have gone as the well-stocked feeders lay unattended. But fear not, this is a totally natural occurrence at the beginning of autumn. Nature’s hedgerows are now studded with blackberries and other fruit – all delicious to garden birds. Birds will always favour feeding directly from nature’s pantry, so whilst her stocks are bountiful you will naturally see a drop in garden feeder visitations.
However, keep their food and water sources topped up, because as soon as temperatures drop and the berry crop dwindles, your favourite garden birds will be back to your feeders in abundance. They rely on your high-energy, high-fat winter food to fuel them through the colder months.


New house guest
In the lead up to winter you may spot in your house either a small tortoiseshell or peacock butterfly perched on the wall in a corner of a room, unmoving – having entered their winter dormant stage. But as temperatures continue to drop outside and our central heating is turned on, these butterflies can be woken up too early by the increased temperatures, which fool them into thinking spring has sprung early.

This isn’t a good thing for a butterfly as their outside environment is too cold and offers little nectar for them to eat. If you spot an early rising butterfly in your home catch the butterfly carefully and move it to an unheated room or outdoor building which it can easily escape from in the spring.

The RSPB has lots of news and ideas on its website and also a good section in getting involved with them, if you have any time to spare.


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