Disclaimer: This post has been made in collaboration with Oeco Garden Rooms and their garden specialists and contains affiliate links. You can view our full policy here. As always all opinions and ideas expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.
As the nights draw and the temperature drops it is important to remember the wildlife and the ways we can help them through the winter months. I have teamed up with Oeco Garden Rooms to share some handy tips and promote awareness on how to help and attract wildlife in your garden this winter. These animals play an important part in our ecosystem, so we need to give them a helping hand when the cold weather takes over. Not only that but I am very good friends with the Hedgehog Lady of Peel in the Isle of Man (yes I know how cool is that??), who has kindly given me some advice too!!
There are various methods of providing a perfect hibernating setup in your garden, but one of the easiest ways is to allow a designated area in your garden to overgrow. Letting grass overgrow provides a natural shelter and warmth for all kinds of wildlife. However, if you don’t have enough space in your garden to let it overgrow, then stockpiling a few logs in a corner will provide ample shelter too.
If you have the space in your garden, plant some trees. This will attract birds and insects to nest over time and will become a hive of activity over the winter months. Planting wildflowers is also a great idea as butterflies and bees are drawn to them.
Hedgehogs get their name because they, usually, build their nests and scavenge around, in the hedgerow.. they can travel 3 or 4 miles in an evening in their search for food. – Vera Barber-
Hedges add a safe area for birds to nest or for other small animals to gather in for comfort. They provide a large area, are enclosed from the rain, and are perfect for hibernating in the winter.
Include a bird house into your garden, as birds depend on these in the colder months as shelter and warmth is what they need above all else. You can also buy or build a home for a hedgehog.
Luckily we have plenty of space and some trees too in our garden!!
Food & water
Hedgehogs require enough fat in order to survive the hibernation period. They hibernate between November and March and can be fed almost anything except milk and bread. I was very surprised to learn this but it is important to be educated!! Hibernation is triggered by a drop in temperature to around or below freezing – if the weather remains mild some hedgehogs will remain active
Hedgehogs are quite happy with extruded – biscuit type – foods which stay fresher longer and don’t seem to attract the flies. A “Hedgehog Feeding Station” can be made quite simply and it will keep the local cats off the food too.
Vera does warn us, that worms – in large quantities can be toxic to hedgehogs and slugs infest them with lung worm. She says: “ Sometimes I wonder how they’ve survived so long (they’ve been around since the dinosaurs were around) when most of the food they eat causes them so many problems”.
Ponds can allow hedgehogs to regularly drink and stay hydrated, however make sure they can leave the pond easily by building a shallow edge. If you do not have a pond, put out a bowl of water that wildlife can drink from, making sure that it is replenished regularly.
We built a pond in the summer, but it is not easily accessible and I fear the hedgehogs could fall in so, we have a little bowl left outside which, I change with fresh water.
Birds can quickly get around from one garden to the next. Supply food on a table and water to help out on the invitation. You’ll be helping them by contributing to their everyday go-to necessities which are harder to find during the winter months.
Not only that but it is so much fun to watch the different birds coming by…
Double check any drains, holes and pits to make sure they’re covered securely, as this can be unsafe for wildlife if they stumble across it.
By following these handy tips, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are helping out wildlife during this tough period and attracting new visitors to your garden that the whole family can enjoy.
After being around for thousands of years the much loved hedgehog is in rapid decline throughout the UK you can make a difference. – Vera Barber-
Help keep animals happy and safe in your garden this winter!!
ALSO – don’t forget you can donate to your local charities who keep the animals safe and well!!
Most of the information & infographics provided by Oeco Garden Rooms, very useful information on hedgehogs also provided by the Hedgehog Lady of Peel Vera Barber.