March – When Wildlife Gardening Comes to Life

At this time of year the garden springs to life as hidden bulbs burst through the ground and bumblebees emerge and drunkenly fly from flower to flower.With the song thrush singing from 6 in the morning through to 6 in the evening and the surprisingly loud song of the wren bursting from hedges and shrubs the spirit quickens a little.

Native Daffodil

Native Daffodil

It is also at this time of year that the grass starts to grow and on a warm, dry March morning it is tempting to dust the mower off and bring it out to neaten the detritus of winter. This year though why not leave a portion of your lawn to grow.

Longer grass offers a refuge to a variety of invertebrates. It also provides a damp place for amphibians and reptiles to hide or make their way safely to other areas of the garden.

This is a difficult month for wildlife as false springs or a late wintry snap can exhaust the reserves of animals and insects who have survived the winter months.

Hopefully you will have planted some lovely native daffodils, or some crocus and other early flowers providing essential nectar for insects emerging from hibernation.

You could also help wildlife in other ways by putting out hair from yourself or your pet dog for birds to use as nesting material. You could even put out coloured wools and track where your materials end up when the autumn reveals the nests.

You could also start putting up nest boxes for birds either looking for a suitable new des res or for those migratory birds returning from far further afield. Nests for house martins, swallows and swifts are available, essential for these travellers who return to find their nests knocked down by annoyed householders who dislike the bit of mess brought by these stunning birds.

This is also the time of year that you see or rather hear the purr of frogs from that pond you put in last autumn, it takes no time for these wonderful animals to find a new water body, never be tempted to frog spawn from other ponds as there is a risk of spreading disease. Do not fear, if you put in a pond frogs will find it. Here's a short video of our Communications Officer's pond this spring - in its very first year this pond attracted many frogs, toads and even newts.