Author: Rose Revera

August- My Wild Garden Year

For this month’s My Wild Garden Year challenge, put up bat boxes to look after your nocturnal neighbours. 

Make a home for bats in your garden and put up bat boxes on large trees or buildings. Be aware that bats are protected, so avoid trees or buildings that you wish to do work on in the future where possible.
1. You can buy good quality boxes from many suppliers, or if you are feeling crafty you can make your own using the dimensions in the links below. Make sure you use untreated wood and choose wood with a rough texture to give bats something to cling to.
2. Site boxes 3-5m above the ground, on trees or houses, in partial sunlight and away from the prevailing wind. A clear flight path to the box is preferential for bats.

Don’t worry if your bat box isn’t used straight away, bats are quite particular and will move around according to time of year.

You can get full instructions for erecting bat boxes by clicking this link and the pictures below, as well as more hints and tips for wildlife gardening in August.

Don’t forget to send us your pictures on social media using the hashtag #MyWildGardenYear or on email using the subject title ‘My Wild Garden Year.

August My Wild Garden Year Awst Fy Flwyddyn Gardd Gwyllt

July- My Wild Garden Year

Make a home for newts, my wild garden year

For this month’s My Wild Garden Year challenge, create a home for newts to shelter. 

A rock pile is a great thing to add to your garden for wildlife, especially in conjunction with a garden pond. Amphibians such as Great Crested Newts and Toads will crawl into the cracks in the stones for shelter and hibernation sites, and they will be used by a myriad of invertebrates.

Creating a rock pile is incredibly simple. Just follow the steps below:
1. Choose a site for your rock pile. Near to a pond is ideal as newts and other amphibians will not have to go far to find shelter. Even better if it is amongst long grass as this will provide food and a safe passage between the pond and shelter.
2. Source some stone. This could simply be rubble from a nearby building site – newts aren’t fussy! But if you would like it to look neater, you can source some more decorative stone.
3. Pile the rocks together any way you wish, but ensure that there will be spaces in between the rocks and under them for newts to crawl into. Newts are unlikely to climb so it would be better if the rock pile is wider than it is high.

You can get full instructions for creating features for newts by clicking this link and the pictures below, as well as more hints and tips for wildlife gardening in July.

Don’t forget to send us your pictures on social media using the hashtag #MyWildGardenYear or on email using the subject title ‘My Wild Garden Year.

July My Wild Garden Year Gorfennaf Mehefin Fy Flwyddyn Gardd Gwyllt

June- My Wild Garden Year

For this month’s My Wild Garden Year challenge, open your own Nectar Cafe in your garden for pollinators like butterflies and bumblebees. 

The garden will now be coming alive with bees, butterflies and other nectar-loving invertebrates, which you can help by creating a nectar café.
1. Choose a sunny, sheltered spot in the garden and mark out a flower bed.
2. Remove the turf and turn over the soil in preparation for planting.
3. Plant out a variety of plants to try and ensure that nectar is provided from spring right through to autumn. Suggestions can be found on each page of this guide.
4. Choose native varieties over cultivated plants, which are unlikely to produce as much nectar.
5. Add climbers that also produce berries and hips for added bonus e.g. Honeysuckle, Dog Rose, Ivy and Black Bryony.
6. Attract moths with night-scented plants like Evening Primrose and Night-Scented Stock.

 

You can get full instructions for planting a nectar cafe by clicking this link and the pictures below, as well as more hints and tips for wildlife gardening in June.

Don’t forget to send us your pictures on social media using the hashtag #MyWildGardenYear or on email using the subject title ‘My Wild Garden Year.

June My Wild Garden Year     Mehefin Fy Flwyddyn Gardd Gwyllt

May- My Wild Garden Year

For this month’s My Wild Garden Year challenge, we would like you to create ‘Bugingham Palace’ for the bugs in your garden.

This is a great activity for adults and children alike! ‘Insect hotels’ can come in any shape and size. You can go large and use stacked pallets as your frame, or you can use a smaller container like a small wooden box or a plastic bottle with the end cut off. It’s entirely up to you. They will benefit all kinds of critters, from solitary bees to lacewings. There is
no right or wrong way to build an insect hotel so just have fun and get creative.

Try to fit some of the following features into it:
l Hollow plant stems e.g. bamboo canes
l Twigs and sticks
l Straw
l Logs (bark on) with different size holes drilled into the end
Make sure they are all over 90mm deep
l Corrugated cardboard rolled up in a waterproof container
l Sand
l Bricks and stones (whole and broken)

You can create a deluxe hotel by leaving some empty space for Hedgehogs and Frogs at the bottom of your insect hotel and adding a green roof on the top – simply cover the roof with sacking or similar, with some holes at the side for drainage that won’t leak into the hotel, cover with compost and seed with wildflower meadow mix.

You can get full instructions for creating a bug hotel by clicking this link and the pictures below, as well as more hints and tips for wildlife gardening in May.

Don’t forget to send us your pictures on social media using the hashtag #MyWildGardenYear or on email using the subject title ‘My Wild Garden Year.

May My Wild Garden Year Mai Fy Flwyddyn Gardd Gwyllt

April- My Wild Garden Year

Make a deadwood garden My Wild Garden Year

For this month’s My Wild Garden Year challenge, make a deadwood garden to create shelter for invertebrates, Hedgehogs and Wrens. 

 

Log piles are a great good creature feature to add to your garden. They will provide areas for shelter and food for many different species, including amphibians, Hedgehogs, lizards and invertebrates such as beetles. Fungi and lichens will also quickly colonise the dead wood.

1. Collect together logs and sticks of various different shapes, sizes and species of tree.
2. Find a shady area of the garden.
3. Pile them together. You can be as neat or as messy as you like as long as you create lots of cracks and crevices for wildlife to crawl into!

You can get more instructions for creating creature features by clicking this link and the pictures below, as well as more hints and tips for wildlife gardening in April.

Don’t forget to send us your pictures on social media using the hashtag #MyWildGardenYear or on email using the subject title ‘My Wild Garden Year.

Ebrill Fy Flwyddyn Gardd Gwyllt   April My WIld Garden Year

March- My Wild Garden Year

Create a compost heap my wild garden year

For this month’s My Wild Garden Year challenge, create a wildlife-friendly compost heap for the Hedgehogs, Slow Worms and Invertebrates in your garden. 

A compost heap is a great way of getting rid of your kitchen and garden waste, whilst creating food for your garden and a home for wildlife at the same time. Invertebrates such as beetles and worms will feed on the decaying matter, which in turn will attract Slow Worms, Hedgehogs and Toads.

1. Choose a sunny spot as this will help the compost rot down more rapidly.
2. Buy a ready-made container or make one from recycled pieces of timber. Try to have a few gaps in the side of your bin which will allow wildlife such as Slow Worms in and out. Make sure it has a waterproof lid.
3. Anything green can be put in your compost heap – weeds, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, paper. Avoid putting in cooked food which will attract rodents, or ash and faeces which will change the condition of the compost.
4. The compost will be ready when it looks dark brown and earthy.

You can get more instructions for creating compost bins by clicking this link and the pictures below, as well as more hints and tips for wildlife gardening in March.

Don’t forget to send us your pictures on social media using the hashtag #MyWildGardenYear or on email using the subject title ‘My Wild Garden Year.

 

Mawrth Fy Flwyddyn Gardd Gwyllt    March My Wild Garden Year

February- My Wild Garden Year

Make a bumblebee nest, My Wild Garden Year

For this month’s My Wild Garden Year challenge, we would like you to create an artificial nesting site for queen bumblebees in your garden.

Early in the spring, generally from March onwards depending on the weather, Queen Bumblebees will emerge from hibernation to feed and look for places to build their nests. They use structures like old vole or mouse nests. You can help them by leaving some early Dandelions in the garden to provide an essential early source of nectar and by building a bumblebee nest by following these instructions:

1. Find a dry and sheltered sunny area in the garden to site your nest. On a bank is ideal as this will be well drained but if this isn’t possible, use a flowerbed or the bottom of a hedge.
2. Get a clay flowerpot, of a depth of 20cm or deeper and half-fill it with nesting material, such as shredded paper, dry grass or straw.
3. Attach a 5cm length of hosepipe (25-30mm wide) to the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.
4. Bury the pot upside-down in the soil, so that the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot is facing upwards and the entrance to the hosepipe is poking out of the soil.
5. Add a 10cm tall upright stick near to the entrance to the hose pipe. This will help you remember where it is and will also be used by the bumblebees later in the summer to find their way back to the nest.

You can get more instructions for creating artificial bumblebee nest boxes by clicking this link and the pictures below, as well as more hints and tips for wildlife gardening in February.

Don’t forget to send us your pictures on social media using the hashtag #MyWildGardenYear or on email using the subject title ‘My Wild Garden Year.

Chwefror Fy Flwyddyn Gardd Gwyllt       February My Wild Garden Year

My Wild Garden Year- Introduction

My Wild Garden Year My Wild Cardiff Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

Did you know that in the UK, there is more land managed as gardens than all the nature reserves across the UK put together? Imagine what a difference we could make for UK wildlife if everyone did gardened with wildlife in mind.

As you probably know, wildlife across the UK is struggling. And sadly, this includes garden wildlife. Studies conducted in 2017 indicate that Hedgehogs have declined by as much as 40% in the last decade [1]. The State of UK Butterflies Report 2011 revealed that ‘common’ garden butterflies had declined by 24% in the last decade [2]. Garden birds have also been hit, for example, HouseSparrows declined by 150 million birds in the past 35 years [3].

So how can you help? There are lots of wildlife friendly features that you can add to your garden to make life just a bit easier for your wildlife neighbours.

This year, we challenge you to make 2018 the year you create a wildlife garden. Each month, we will issue a new challenge to create a particular wildlife feature in your garden/ allotment or wild space. We’d then like you to show us what you have created.

Challenges will be announced on our FacebookTwitter and Instagram on the first Friday of each month, and instructions will be found on this page, so be sure to check back for information and instructions.

January- My Wild Garden Year

Put Up Bird Boxes, My Wild Garden Year

For this month’s My Wild Garden Year challenge, we would like you to put up nest boxes for birds in your garden.

Many garden birds nest or roost in hollow trees and holes in trees. Unfortunately, these days most old and lying trees and branches, which offer the best nesting and roosting sites, are routinely cut down and removed. This leaves fewer places for birds to set up homes and raise families. Specially constructed nest boxes imitate the holes and cavities in
dead standing wood that are usually cleared away. A bird box can be a real help to garden birds – an estimated 2 million fledglings are reared in nest boxes each year. And it’s a wonderful feeling to see a blue tit or robin investigating a nest box that you made and put up yourself. What’s more, building bird boxes is straightforward and easy – no special carpentry skills are needed.

You can get full instructions for putting up bird boxes by clicking this link and the pictures below, as well as more hints and tips for wildlife gardening in January.

Don’t forget to send us your pictures on social media using the hashtag #MyWildGardenYear or on email using the subject title ‘My Wild Garden Year.

      Ionawr Fy Flwyddyn Gardd Gwyllt

Who’s up for a challenge?!

Building the pop up garden

Although we’ve still got mince pies to eat and silly festive hats to wear, we are already looking forward to 2018 and the New Years Resolutions we are going to make.

As you probably know, wildlife across the UK is struggling. And sadly, this includes garden wildlife. Studies conducted in 2017 indicate that Hedgehogs have declined by as much as 40% in the last decade. The State of UK Butterflies Report 2011 revealed that ‘common’ garden butterflies had declined by 24% in the last decade. Garden birds have also been hit, for example, House Sparrows declined by 150 million birds in the past 35 years.

Next year we are going to make a New Years Resolution to create a wildlife garden and we challenge you to join in too! We would like you to join us each month of 2018 to create a new feature for wildlife in your garden and we will be here to guide you every step of the way.

On the first of each month, a new challenge will be announced on this page and on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram streams. All you have to do to join in is sign up on this page , follow our social media streams if you are on them, complete each challenge and send us photos of you completing the challenge to us on social media using the hashtag #MyWildGardenYear or on email using the subject line ‘My Wild Garden Year’

Those who complete all the challenges (or show us proof that you already have that particular feature in the garden) within the course of the year will be entered into a prize draw this time next year.

So look out for the first challenge announcement on New Years Day on our webpage or social media. Hint- the first challenge will involve creating a home for your feathered friends!

Grazing Returns to the South Gower Coast

Dexters Gower Meadow Beef Overton Mereb

Our Overton Mere Nature Reserve on the South Gower Coast, is a very special place. The reserve is of national importance for the assemblage of calcareous grassland plants it supports, such as Spring Squill, Autumn Ladies-Tresses and Hoary Rock Rose.

But this special habitat is under threat from lack of grazing. Grazing is essential for the maintenance of species-rich wildlife habitats by controlling aggressive and invasive species, sustaining open and wooded habitats and creating gaps for new species to germinate.

The calcareous grassland habitat at Overton Mere is slowly but surely being overrun with Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus) and staff and volunteers are starting to lose the battle with this tenacious shrub.

This winter, for the first time in 35 years, we have brought in extra troops in the form of a small herd of ponies and cattle!

A partnership formed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Natural Resources Wales, PONT (Pori Natur a Threftadaeth), Nature and Heritage, Gower Meadow Beef, Tor Coed Welsh Mountain Ponies and the National Trust have worked together to install the infrastructure to support grazing animals on Overton Mere once again.

And so in early December, we released some Welsh Mountain Ponies and hardy Dexter cattle out on the Mere to start work!

We are really excited to see grazing back on the South Gower Coast and are looking forward to monitoring the effects of their hard work during wildflower surveys over the next few years.

If you have any questions, please contact Paul

Make your own Festive Bird Feeders!

Bird Feeder Wreath Wildlife Trust

At this cold time of year, it’s very important to keep feeding your garden birds to help them survive the winter. This year, why not make these festive bird feeders for your own garden and to give as Christmas presents?

They are easy to make and so pretty- and the birds will appreciate them most of all!

Ingredients

Festive Bird Feeder Ingredients Rose Revera

 100g plain flour

120ml warm water

Three tablespoons honey

One 12g package of unflavoured gelatin

Approximately 300g of bird food (why not buy from Vine House Farm and support the Wildlife Trusts!)

Dried fruit for decoration

Moulds

Nonstick cooking oil

 

Method

  • Start by mixing the gelatin and water together in a mixing bowl until the gelatin is fully dissolved.
  • Whisk in the honey and flour until the mixture is nice and thick. If you think it needs to be a bit thicker, stick it in the fridge for a short time to cool it down.
  • Stir the bird seed into the thickened mixture. It will begin to get quite tough to stir but make sure it is all evenly mixed!
  • When it’s all well stirred, spray your moulds with nonstick vegetable cooking oil and clingfilm too for big moulds. This will make them easier to get out of the moulds when set.
  • Put some dried fruit in the bottom of the moulds for decoration.
  • Spoon the seed mixture into the moulds on top of the decorative dried fruit, making sure it is well pressed down into the mould.
  • Pop the moulds into the fridge for half an hour or until set.
  • Turn the moulds out on to some greaseproof paper and leave the decorations to dry for a few days, turning them over every so often.
  • Hang them up in the garden and enjoy watching the birds!

You can download a pdf guide to print off at home and have a go yourself.