November… There is a chill in the air, Strictly on TV, and - if you’re anything like us - lots of decorative munchkin pumpkins refusing to leave your home. As we slow down for autumn, so does much of the UK’s wildlife. Many types of mammals, invertebrates and amphibious beasts hit snooze over the colder months, and love to find snug little spots around your garden to get cosy for their long winter’s nap. While summer is for giving nature a helping hand, choosing natural products and protecting populations of insects and butterflies, autumn is all about turning your garden into a cute boutique hotel, giving hedgehogs and the like somewhere dry to nest until next spring.
Here we give you our top tips for looking after your local wildlife this autumn…
When sweeping up all those beautiful dry leaves from paths and lawns, deposit them in corners or even at the base of a hedge, giving critters somewhere to crawl in and forget about their troubles.
Placing bundles of sticks and twigs around the borders of your garden provides a welcome resting place for small mammals and invertebrates.
Spotted any stowaway butterflies in your home? Many species migrate indoors in the autumn - and may get a little excited when the central heating comes on (more excited than us when those big bills come, anyway). If you see any of these beautiful boys fluttering around, gently catch them and release them in your shed where they will be perfectly content. If you don’t have a net, a shoebox will do nicely. Make sure they have an exit route when the weather improves in the spring.
Herbaceous borders with lots of rotting plant matter providean ideal winter blanket for creatures great and small. Seedheads give insects a place to relax - and have the added bonus of doubling up as nutrient-rich birdfeed! If you have autumn and winter-flowering plants in, be sure to nourish them with a gentle, organic, wildlife-friendly and vegan feed like our All-Purpose Liquid Concentrate - to help wildlife thrive, as well as your plants.
Creatures love compost… If you use a compost bin, be sure to perch it on some bricks so animals and insects can access it from the bottom. If the bin is open at the top, you could add some insulation to keep material warm and dry. Avoid disturbing piles until springtime, when your over-winter guests will be on their way.
Birds don’t hibernate, but that doesn’t mean winter isn’t tough on them. Clear out any nesting boxes now and add a little warm nesting materials to keep your feathered friends warm at night.
Not all of our friends in the animal kingdom are polite enough to stick to the garden in winter. Take care when visiting lofts, attics and garages over the autumn and winter season, and try to keep these spaces unheated if you possibly can - anything to save on those energy bills!
Passionate about the environment? Stay tuned for more quickfire tips about how to protect your plants and local wildlife.