How to Attract Wildlife to your Garden in January
In the bleak midwinter, gardens fall
dormant as flowers and shrubs wait patiently for spring to come. But life goes
on for the wildlife in your garden – and at this time of year, it can often do
with a little helping hand.
There are plenty of ways to help
wildlife thrive despite the cold weather.
Garden birds benefit from being fed
all year round, but winter is a time to provide foodstuffs with a high fat
content. Starlings are fond of peanut cakes while finches enjoy berry cakes and
wrens will enjoy tucking into finely chopped bacon rind. You can also create
your own fat blocks by melting suet into shapes which can then be placed in
logs or wire cages.
While fat is important to help birds
through the winter months, it is also advisable to provide a mixture of grain
or nuts to ensure they get a balanced diet; for example, many birds will enjoy
sunflower hearts while goldfinches particularly enjoy niger seeds. Feed placed
on a wire mesh just off the ground will entice birds such as robins and
dunnocks while over-ripe apples or raisins scattered on the ground will be a
firm favourite with thrushes and blackbirds.
January is also a good month for
clearing out old nesting boxes and getting them ready for their new residents
come the spring.
Birds also need water all year round,
but this can often be challenging when the temperature drops, and water freezes
over. A birdbath can be an attractive addition to your garden and helps to
ensure all wildlife has a good water supply.
Leaving dead plant material on
flowerbeds or adding bark mulch will not only protect the soil from frost and keep
moisture at the roots of your trees and shrubs, but also help to form shelter
and habitats for wildlife. Leaf piles for example create a great habitat for
hibernating insects which are, in turn, a good source of nutrition for ground
feeding birds, and blackbirds and winter thrushes often hunt for food around
spent flower borders and bark mulch. Leaf piles also provide a warm place for
small animals, such as hedgehogs, to hide and sleep.
Wildflower meadows are long since past
their prime, but they have not outgrown their usefulness. The spent stems and
seed heads will attract birds such as goldfinches, blue tits and sparrows whilst
providing perfect insect hiding places – another potential nutritious meal for
Compost heaps are a great way of
recycling your organic household waste and in return you get excellent homemade
fertiliser for your garden. And a compost heap has endless benefits for
wildlife too; composting material provides food for decomposers such as fungi
and soil invertebrates which break down plant material, attracting birds and
other wildlife to your garden.
January is the perfect time to add
wildlife-friendly shrubs and trees into your garden. Bare-root plants are
available at this time of the year and planting them now gives the plants good
time to establish before the spring. Trees such as the elegant silver birch
also provide food and a habitat for more than 300 insect species while birds
enjoy its seeds.
The friendly, knowledgeable experts at
Poplar Nurseries are here to offer help and advice, all year round; come and
see us in store or get in touch through our website’s Contact Us page.