As the nights slowly draw in, mornings become colder and leaves transform the landscape to a gentle orange hue you know Autumn is on its way. As we get closer to winter it may be tempting to have a big tidy up but put down the shovel! Let your gardening go wild in autumn to help wildlife!
Our friends at Vine House Farm have some tips to get you started:
Let your garden go wild
It may be tempting to grab the pruners and get snipping! But pruning too harshly removes an important habitat for invertebrates in winter months. Less insects means less food for ground feeding birds like robin, blackbird and song thrush. Instead of giving your perennial plants a hefty cut, why not opt for a trim and leave plenty of foliage at or near ground level? Not only will the insects and birds be thankful, but it may also protect new shoots from late frosts.
As autumn approaches, the leaves start to gently drift towards the ground. Is there any better sound than crunchy leaves underfoot? By piling up leaves and other vegetation you can make an open compost heap, providing the perfect spot for hibernation. This will benefit invertebrates, amphibians and even some mammals! The warmer material below will attract invertebrates, will provide a much needed meal for birds such as song thrush on those crisp, frosty mornings.
Check out our top tips on how to compost your waste here.
Put up a nest box
Even though nesting season is long gone, autumn is the perfect time to put up a nest box in your garden! This will give birds the opportunity to check out any future real estate before the breeding season begins. It also provides a cosy spot for small birds to spend the night on particularly cold winter evenings.
Get ready to welcome winter migrants
After a busy summer, it’s important to clean all your bird feeders to avoid the spread of disease. Read Vine House Farm’s top tips for keeping your feeders sparkling here. It’s easy to assume that there won’t be much to see in the winter, but with an influx of winter migrants your garden may become a bird hotspot with the right food!
Check out Vine House Farm’s tips for making sure you have the right food and feeders to suit different species!
Help a hog!
As winter approaches, our spikey friends will be looking for somewhere warm to spend the winter. A hefty pile of leaves does the trick, but if you really want to go all out why not installing a hedgehog home? You can buy yours from Vine House Farm or make your own!
Crisp autumn days are full of colour as the leaves turn red and gold. Toadstools pop up from the floor like fairy-tale towers and animals fatten up eating brightly-coloured berries.
Wildlife garden – Tom Marshall
Healthy soil with earthworms – Steve Trotter
Bird box installation – Dave Kilbey
Brambling – Margaret Holland
Hedgehog – Tom Marshall