Let nature into your garden this autumn

Let nature into your garden this autumn

As the nights draw in and the weather gets colder, it may be tempting to have a big tidy up of your garden, but DON’T! Put down your shovel and pruners and let nature in to your garden this autumn.

Resist the urge to cut back

It may be tempting to grab the pruners and get snipping, but pruning too harshly removes an important habitat for insects in winter months, which means less food for birds like robin, blackbird and song thrush. Instead of heft prune, opt for a trim and keep plenty of foliage at ground level. Not only will the insects and birds be thankful, but it may also protect new shoots from late frost.

Goldfinch

Goldfinch on teasel - Bob Coyle

Make your own compost

Pile up those autumn leaves and other offcuts of vegetation to make an open compost heap, providing the perfect spot for hibernating creatures, such as insects, frogs and even some mammals! The warmer material below will attract invertebrates, which will provide a much-needed meal for birds such as song thrush on those cold winter mornings.

Find out how to make your own compost 

Compost heap

Compost heap (c) Lynn Greyling

Put up a nest box

Although the nesting season is long over, garden birds will welcome a cosy spot to spend those cold winter nights. Putting up a box in autumn will also give garden birds an opportunity to check out any prospective sites before the breeding season begins in early February.

Check out our guide to make your own nest box 

UW Nature Reserve Officer putting up a Bird Box

UW Nature Reserve Officer putting up a Bird Box

Get ready to welcome winter visitors

Autumn is a great time to see flocks of birds visiting your garden, some of which will have travelled from further afield to spend their winter on our relatively balmy shores. Get your bird feeding stations ready by ensuring feeders and tables are clean and disinfected to prevent the spread of disease. Also, ensure they are regularly topped up throughout the cold winter months.

Find out more about what food to feed and types of bird feeders 

Robin and blue tit on bird feeder

Robin and blue tit © Nicholas Watts

Help our hedgehogs

As it starts to get colder, our prickly friends will be looking for somewhere warm and cosy to spend the winter. Pilling up leaves or logs or making a compost heap are good options for providing a safe place for hedgehogs, and have the added bonus of attracting lots of insects for them to eat! Choose a quiet spot that is unlikely to be disturbed from November to March when they will be hibernating.

If you are lucky to have regular hedgehog visitors, you could build them their very own hedgehog house. Check out our step by step guide 

Hedgehog (c) Jon Hawkins

Hedgehog (c) Jon Hawkins

Provide a pond

Creating a pond in your garden is the single best thing you can do to encourage wildlife and autumn/winter is a perfect time to get started. If you don't have too much space, a mini pond can be a brilliant addition to your garden. Ponds provide a home for a wide range of wildlife, from insects and amphibians to the birds and mammals who will visit for a drink. Remember - ponds should be made safe for both wildlife an people, safety should always be the priority.

Check out our pond guide to get started 

Garden pond

Garden pond (c) Linda Pitkin 2020 Vision

Protect your plants

Some perennial herbs and pollinating plants may not survive our winters, so if you've sensitive plants cover them with a fleece or closh or, if they're in pots, move them indoors into a greenhouse before the first frosts.

Native wildflowers

Native wildflowers

'Let Nature In' to your garden

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