Animals, Bird Baths, Composting, How To, Megan, Ponds, Wildlife

How To Care For Wildlife in Winter

As we approach the winter months, it is time for a lot of wildlife to find a cosy spot somewhere to hibernate. Species that do not hibernate prepare for harsh weather and a lot struggle to find food. This is where your garden can come in. By learning how to care for wildlife in winter you can save the lives of some wildlife that otherwise wouldn’t make it through the harsher winter months.

Hedgehogs

how to care for wildlife in winter - hedgehog

In order for hedgehogs to survive their winter hibernation, they need to have a substantial amount of fat stored. You can help boost their fat reserves by leaving out small plates of meaty pet food, along with crunchy pet biscuits, which will help take care of their teeth. Once hedgehogs are ready to hibernate they like warm spots under piles of leaves and in logs. We suggest when collecting leaves, instead of composting all of them, place some underneath hedges at the edge of the garden. This creates welcome places hedgehogs can make a home for the winter. Talking of compost heaps, hedgehogs often like to nest in them so ensure you check your compost for hedgehogs before turning it over. Alternatively you could buy a ready-built hedgehog home for hedgehogs to settle in to.

Birds

how to care for wildlife in winter - bird on a branch

As birds do not hibernate, it is important to provide them lots of food and a water source over winter. Food in the wild can be scarce over the colder months. To help prevent starvation, have a variety of foods available to them over a number of feeding stations. Feeding stations range from bird tables to hanging feeders to ground feeding stations. The more variety of bird food you put out, the more diverse a species of bird you will find in your garden. Peanuts, bird seed mix, fat balls as well as any leftover dried fruit are all good choices and will attract blue tits to robins to goldfinches. To find out more about what bird food to put out check out our article here. It is also important to make sure birds have access to fresh water. Keep your birdbath topped up and ensure it doesn’t freeze over by placing a table tennis ball at the surface of the water.

Pond life

how to care for wildlife in winter - frog in a pond

Many of your fish will hibernate at the bottom of your pond during the winter months. It is vital that your pond does not freeze over during extra cold spells. This can trap poisonous gases, as well as suffocate frogs and the like. Help prevent this by placing a tennis ball at the surface or installing a pond heater. If it does freeze over, place a pan of boiling water on its surface to allow the ice to melt. Ensure you remove any fallen leaves and dead plant matter from your pond. If you leave this it can release harmful gases as it decomposes.

Insects

how to care for wildlife in winter - butterfly on leaf

Insects are often long forgotten when it comes to garden wildlife, but they are an important part of your garden’s ecosystem. Many play the vital role of pollination in your garden. Others are great predator control. One way you can help insects in the winter is by letting the grass on your lawn grow wildly. Try and resist mowing it until spring. This allows a place for butterflies and other insects to shelter from the harsh weather. Another way to provide shelter, as well as food for some creatures, is to create a log pile. You can also drill holes in the logs to create housing for solitary bees. Alternatively, buy a solitary bee pollinator house. Once you’ve built your log pile, be sure not to disturb it as not to interfere with the wildlife community inside.

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

Zoe

Care Home Garden

As many of you are already aware, Primrose has been running a national care home competition in which the lucky winner would receive £1000 towards their communal garden.  We have received near 100 entries from across the country from Glasgow all the way to Isle of Wight! There have been some incredibly moving nominations from those who work in care homes, those who have family in care homes and people who just simply want to support their local community.

A common pattern in all the entries was people recognising the amazing benefits of spending time outdoors, echoing the belief that the outdoors can relieve stress, stimulate the senses and promote calmness. One entry also said “the garden is important for the residents not only for them to enjoy being in an outdoor space that is safe and accessible but it’s also a great social space” which highlights the ways a garden can encourage residents to speak to one another and build lasting friendships.

Gardening From Wheelchair

Despite all the wonderful entries though, there could only be one winner…and we are thrilled to announce them as Abbeywood care home in Aldershot!

We were touched to see the heartfelt nomination written by their activities co-ordinator which talked about what difference this money could mean to them and how the garden was currently being used by the residents to connect with the community and spend time reflecting.

We learnt that Abbeywood would use the money to encourage local woodland wildlife so that the residents may enjoy watching the birds and other creatures in the garden, and also invest in some raised beds which would make gardening much easier for residents who have trouble bending down. We loved the idea of making the outdoor space a place for people to relax but also a place where residents may get involved with growing vegetables and gardening if they wish to.

There were also several other nominations for the same care home from families of residents which reflects the great care work they currently do. Well done Abbeywood – it’s so great to hear positive reviews!

Thank you to everybody who took the time to enter, we have really enjoyed the entries we’ve received and can’t wait to move forward with Abbeywood and their garden transformation.

Zoe at PrimroseZoë works in the Marketing team at Primrose, and is passionate about all things social media.

After travelling across Europe and Asia, Zoë is intrigued by different cultures and learning more about the world around her. If she’s not jet setting, Zoë loves nothing more than curling up with a good book and a large glass of red wine!

She is an amateur gardener but keen to learn more and get stuck in!

See all of Zoë’s posts.

Geoff Stonebanks, Pest Advice

Slug Killer

 

When you open your garden to the public, it’s important to  me to ensure that all my blooms and foliage look the best they possibly can. With planting so tightly packed to achieve the look I want, it’s very easy for slugs and snails to hide away amongst the foliage unnoticed. Now, I have to admit, I’m not one of those gardeners who is out there with a torch at night, picking the snails off and then driving them  miles away to deposit them.  I need to get rid of them without that hassle. We have a gorgeous little Jack Russell, Albert, so it’s equally as important to find something that is not going to harm him, as he loves to spend time in the garden as well.

 

Slug

 

A few years ago, I discovered a great product that works well for me, Advanced Slug Killer. This slug killer really is  amazing. It’s an innovative blue pellet containing a naturally occurring active ingredient Ferric Phosphate. Once attracted to and consuming the bait pellet, slugs cease to feed, and crawl into a dark secluded place or under the ground to die which eliminates the problems of unsightly slime trails and slug bodies to clear away. All this combines to make Advanced Slug Killer just about the best anti-slug product I’ve found in my  years of gardening. On moist soil or in humid conditions, the pellets absorb some of the moisture and begin to swell. The granules do not decay after a few swellings, also slugs much prefer the moister texture making them an attractive meal instead of my lovely flowers.

Geoff Stonebanks

 

I don’t grow organically or grow vegetables, but the pellets can be used as a bait for the control of slugs on bare ground and around all edible and non-edible crops grown outdoors, in the greenhouse or under other permanent or temporary cover.  More importantly, I find it remains effective after exposure to rain, watering and sunlight too. So, whether you open your garden up or not, if you have a problem with slugs and snails what not give it a go? I always check the garden daily and apply the pellets at first sign of plant damage, putting out  late evening or early morning when slugs are most active.

Read more of my garden at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk

Geoff Stonebanks lives inGeoff Stonebanks Bishopstone, near Seaford in East Sussex and spends all his time gardening and fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. Using his multi award-winning garden, Driftwood, he has raised over £76,000 for various charities in 7 years, £40,000 of that for Macmillan. The garden, which first opened to the public in 2009 has featured on BBC2 Gardeners’ World, Good Morning Britain and in many national and local media publications. In his spare time, Geoff is also the National Garden Scheme’s Social Media & Publicity Chair as well as an Assistant County Organiser & Publicity Officer in East & Mid Sussex.

Barbecues, Celebrations And Holidays, Decoration, Events, Garden Furniture, Outdoor Heating, Zoe

Garden Party

 

Summer has slowly approached us in the UK, and even with the interruptions of rainy showers, it’s not enough to dampen our spirit. We’re sure you have something to celebrate this summer, whether it be: a wedding or engagement, a birthday party, a new home, a new baby or simply because you want to have a party!

So why not take your party outside, we have thought of everything you will need to have a garden party no matter the weather.

Gazebo

A gazebo is an absolute must if you are planning a garden party this summer. A gazebo protects you from all of the unpredictable wind, rain or scorching sun. If you have little ones around it’s a great place to protect them from the harmful rays or equally you can run for shelter if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

If you are thinking of a garden party on a grander scale, it may be worth considering purchasing a marquee that can hold a lot more people than the standard gazebo. Many people consider renting marquees, but there are plenty of reasonably priced luxury options that will allow you to re-use it again and again!

For events such as weddings or large scale celebrations, marquees offer a place to put your dance floor or a place to seat your guests for a dinner.

 

Marquee

 

Outdoor Lighting

No doubt your garden party will last until the sun goes down, and when that happens you can illuminate your garden with an array of outdoor lighting. You can create a magical atmosphere with the addition of lights and be sure to wow your guests.

A popular option now for outdoor lighting is those that are solar powered. These lights will generate their power via the sun during the day, and have a pleasant glow when it gets dark. These are fantastic for saving money on your energy bills and are great for the environment. What’s not to love?

BBQ

Is there anything better than being in the sunshine with friends whilst smelling your lunch being grilled on the BBQ? We don’t think so.

Rather than buying disposable BBQs time and time again, why not spend the extra and buy a permanent one that will last you for many summers to come? Disposable BBQs can’t be recycled or composted so the investment is much better for the environment, and with the huge amount of styles now available, a stylish BBQ can be a great feature in your garden.

BBQ

 

 

Garden Furniture

Of course it’s important to consider where your guests will sit at the garden party! Depending on how formal your party is there are a variety of options you can consider from benches, dining sets and even bean bags to create the perfect place for everyone to sit back and relax.

You also might want to consider a quirky drinks cooler that will get your guests talking, our recycled steel cooler can be used as a outdoor ornament for the rest of the year.

Outdoor Heaters

 

Let’s not kid ourselves, if you’re having a garden party in Britain it will no doubt turn to the chilly side at some point. There’s no need to move the party inside though, if you have an outdoor heater to keep you warm you can still party through the night.

Nowadays you have the option of a gas or electric heater depending on what your requirements are. Both have their advantages; take a read of our breakdown of Gas vs Electric Powered Heaters to help you make your mind up what will be best for your need.

 

Outdoor Heater

 

We hope you have a great time at your garden party, send in your photographs of your Primrose products to photos@primrose.co.uk and you could win £5 worth of vouchers if they’re used!

Zoe at PrimroseZoë works in the Marketing team at Primrose, and is passionate about all things social media.

After travelling across Europe and Asia, Zoë is intrigued by different cultures and learning more about the world around her. If she’s not jet setting, Zoë loves nothing more than curling up with a good book and a large glass of red wine!

She is an amateur gardener but keen to learn more and get stuck in!

See all of Zoë’s posts.

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