Winter Wildlife and Insect Homes

Wednesday, 6 November 2019  |  Alison
Winter Wildlife and Insect Homes
Providing a “des res” for our native wildlife and insects has never been more important as natural habitats are removed to make way for modern lifestyles.    Woodlands and hedgerows disappearing and chemical pesticides on mass produced crops have all contributed to the fall in the natural eco balance for our wildlife.
No need for a second mortgage for this extra home, and although there are ready-made versions available, actually,  part of the fun of making this  ‘winter wonderland’ is that it can be made virtually for free
using a little imagination and some of these ideas and the whole family can participate.
In a quiet, shady part of the garden, old wooden pallets, discarded air bricks (they have holes in them) can be stacked and then filled with the following:-

Bundles of small twigs or sticks. 

Rolled up cardboard boxes (especially with the corrugated bits that are inside).   

Dried plant stems and seed heads from cut back perennials & dried leaves.

Old bits of hollow bamboo poles.

Broken crocks, pine cones, straw.

Straw stuffed into a worn out pair of gardening boots!   

These all make excellent winter habitats for ladybirds, lacewings, woodlice, toads, frogs and many more, all of whom are beneficial to our gardens. 
If you are lucky enough to have a hedgehog that visits your garden, and who wouldn’t want one, giving them a place to hibernate in winter will make your garden the one they choose, so it is worth trying to leave a naturally ‘messy’ bit of garden that they can shuffle and snuffle around.  Hedging or shrubs that give some cover are ideal and fallen decaying leaves, dead bamboo leaves and pampas grass foliage has proved invaluable to the hedgehog that rests for the winter in my garden.   
If you have a smaller area, wedge an empty upturned egg box underneath a hedge or shrub, which is perfect for tiny insects to hide.  Collecting old bits of decaying wood and hollow stems from faded perennials and laying these in a pile in the garden border will also give a winter home for many other insects.  
Then, all you have to do is watch, wait and record all the creatures you have given a home to this winter. 
Brookside Nursery