The Wildlife Trusts’ Guide to a Garden Winter Wonderland

Great spotted woodpecker Amy Lewis

Great spotted woodpecker Amy Lewis

In a world that is rapidly losing its green spaces, our gardens are mini wildlife havens that are becoming increasingly important for wildlife. Over winter, when ‘the weather outside is frightful’, there is much you can do to help your garden wildlife survive and even attract new species to your garden.

Here are the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales Top Tips on giving wildlife a helping hand this winter:

  1. Minibeast Mansions

Minibeast Mansions are perfect for providing shelter for insects and they’re a lot of fun to build too. You can make a Minibeast Mansion by stuffing materials like straw, stones or bark into a wooden frame, creating a variety of nooks and crannies for bugs to move in. Visit ‘Bugingham Palace’ at Parc Slip Nature Reserve, Bridgend for inspiration!

Bugingham Palace, Parc Slip

Bugingham Palace, Parc Slip

      2.  Wild Winter Gardening

Consider including more wildlife friendly plants in the garden. Evergreens like lavender and climbers like ivy provide valuable winter shelter. Leaving herbaceous vegetation standing until March also provides shelter and seed heads for winter food. Autumn flowering plants such as holly and ivy help wildlife prepare for winter and can also be incorporated into Christmas decorating!

     3. Frosty Fluttering

Red admiral and peacock butterflies spend winter sleeping in cold sheltered areas such as garden sheds. They can awaken early on warmer days or if disturbed so if you find one, do not release it outside but in a cool sheltered place such as a shed.

Hedgehog Tom Marshall

Hedgehog Tom Marshall

     4. Feed the Birds

Provide a variety of food in a covered area, high enough that cats cannot reach it! Bird seed mixes, leftovers (avoiding dry bread and gone-off foods) and apples are all safe to feed. You can also provide ‘wild food’ by planting berry and seed producing vegetation in your garden, such as rowan and teasel.

      5. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

If your grass is still growing, let it! It provides shelter for many species from the colder weather. You could even create a wild patch in your garden where you allow the grass to grow long. This can help wildlife move between habitats safely.

You can find out more information about wildlife gardening on the website or pop in and visit us at Parc Slip Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre or Cilgerran.