15 January 2019

January can often be the coldest of months, seeing harsh frosts continue to prevail but your garden can offer a lot for wildlife at this time. Barren as it may seem, many creatures will still be hibernating or over-wintering in the safety of hedgerows, underneath sheds, in piles of fallen leaves and stems, so it is important that these small sanctuaries aren't disturbed during these cold months. If a garden tidy up is needed, rake and pile debris into a quiet corner to naturally decompose, offering shelter and nutrients to wildlife. 

Birds will tend to be the most active wildlife species you will see in January, often searching for food to sustain them into spring. Many will feed on remaining berries and fallen fruits from shrubs and trees in your garden as well as making use of any bird feeders you may have put out. It's a good idea to keep your bird feeders topped up throughout the cold weather as well as fresh bird baths - just keep cracking the ice to ensure they can access drinking water. Leave dead wood piles near to trees of hedgerows to encourage larger birds such as woodpeckers, who will search for insects to feed on. 

Although it may be tempting to stay inside in the warmth of your home, January is a good time to get out and really assess your garden and think about it could be improved for wildlife. You'll be able to see the skeleton of the framework of your garden. Does your garden lack evergreen shrubs for sheltering wildlife? Or maybe you have no fruit or berry-bearing trees/shrubs for over-wintering residents? Maybe you have large areas of open ground or bare soil where you could introduce a new planting scheme or a mini woodland copse? It could be that your garden borders simply lack texture and winter interest. Take a sketchpad or camera out and record the different areas of your garden and use this as a foundation to build your ideas upon. 

If you would like some wildlife gardening advice or any garden design/build services, get in touch with us, the Wild Landscapes team: 

[email protected]

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