November is here and it will not be long before we are into the festive season. So why not start thinking about Christmas gift ideas for the avid wildlife gardener or would be wildlife gardeners needing a little encouragement.
How about a native British tree or shrub such as hornbeam, rowan, blackthorn or hazel, as a gift? Native trees and shrubs will provide great habitat and food source for a range of species from insects to birds, and will be really beneficial for the biodiversity in your garden. It is also a gift that can be enjoyed year after year, especially if you choose to give a fruit tree! January is a great time to plant your trees out as many are dormant at this time and there is also a lot of moisture in the soil. For more information on native British trees why not take a look at the Woodland Trust’s A to Z tree guide at http://www.british-trees.com/treeguide/index.htm
Packets of wildflower seed will make brilliant stocking fillers, and can be used to turn a thin patch of lawn or shady flower bed into a wildflower patch and a haven for the bird and the bees. Sowing and managing a small area of wildflowers is also a great project for the New Year, sowing your seeds during any breaks in the cold and wet weather. Simply rake over or remove any dead leaves from your patch and scatter your seed over the area. Cornfield annuals (sometimes referred to as ‘arable ‘weeds’) and grassland meadow flowers are good for sunny spots, such as cornflower, poppies, oxeye daisy, yarrow or bird’s foot-trefoil. Woodland or hedgerow flowers are ideal for shady corners or under existing shrubs, and could include red campion, bluebells, primrose, enchanter’s nightshade and wood avens. Try to source seeds locally, and a good source of further information on individual species can be found at Emorsgate Seeds: www.wildseed.co.uk
If neither of the above appeal, how about the gift of an adopted dormouse, bat, otter or dolphin? Find out more at www.devonwildlifetrust.org/adopt-a-species/
One final thought before you go off to enjoy Guy Fawkes Night, check your bonfire for hedgehogs or any other small animals which may be sheltering inside it!