In autumn the garden is seeming less appealing, but there are still vital steps we must take to help the insects and wildlife before we stop for our long winters rest!
Insects are critically important to our environment, and vital to all life on earth. The decline in numbers of insects is dramatic, and of huge concern…. we have to act!
Insects pollinate our crops, from apples to runner beans, 1 in 3 mouthfuls of our food need pollinators.
Beneficial Insects help to keep harmful creatures in check.
They are sanitation experts…cleaning up waste so the world is not overrun with dead creatures and animal droppings!
They break down dead plant matter to recycle nutrients to our soil.
SO HOW CAN WE HELP?
- Leave some fallen apples / fruits on the ground. A nutritious meal for insects, birds, small animals, all of them stocking up for the winter ahead. Make sure you put your soggy pumpkin out in the garden, (over 12 million pumpkins are put in the waste annually…. let the wildlife enjoy them).
- Plant some shrubs or plants that offer nectar and pollen in winter.
- Mahonia sports stunning yellow flowers from December onwards and is great for wildlife.
- Sarcococca confusa, is a tough, shiny leaved evergreen, flowering from December onwards, its perfume is quite simply… incredible. It is highly wildlife friendly, providing pollen and nectar at a time when little is available. It survives car fumes, copes with dry shade and has few pests.
- Many bulbs, snowdrops, winter aconite and crocus, offer nectar to bees flying out in early spring. A bonus…all of these flowers will also lift your spirits on a cold winter’s day!
- Plant cotoneasters, holly, hawthorn, crab apples, firethorn…berry rations for hungry creatures in winter.
A SMALL PROJECT …. MAKE A LOG PILE….
WHY? Because a log pile will provide a nesting site, shelter or a safe hibernation spot for many insects.
Creating this will not need any DIY skills, or strength, nor does it need to be neatly stacked…all that is needed is a desire to help our failing insect community.
A pile of logs can set up the development of a whole village of creepy crawlies, attracting frogs, even hedgehogs if you are very lucky, and is considered essential in a wildlife garden.
Choose a dampish, shady spot, (not too cold as the insects might struggle). Space needed….as much or as little as you wish.
You will need:
- logs (ideally some over 4”/ 10cms thick)
- dry leaves
Make a base of logs, and to keep the logs firmly together bang in stakes on both sides.
A layer of sticks.
A layer of dry leaves.
Carry on lasagne style …logs/sticks/leaves…filling all the crevices with leaves, culminating in a rough point at the top. In a very dry spell, water the pile…otherwise leave it undisturbed…and just watch for insects, knowing you have taken a huge step to help the insect world and well deserve your winter’s rest!