The Hedgehog Friendly Garden

A layout for a hedgehog friendly garden

A layout for a hedgehog and wildlife friendly garden

If you have hedgehogs in your garden, please look after them well. You are one of the very few lucky ones to still enjoy the presence of these endangered animals

The picture of a basic wildlife and hedgehog friendly garden gives you some ideas of how to attract and keep hedgehogs and other wildlife in your garden

It is reproduced by kind permission of what used to be  the Prickly Ball Farm Hedgehog Hospital.  They are now the Devon Wildlife Centre and Hospital. When you are in their area please visit them and learn more about hedgehogs and how to help the hedgehogs in YOUR garden

 

visit Sarah Raven for all your gardening needs
The hedgehog friendly garden needs a combination of evergreen shrubs that will give cover and protection all year round together with flowers and bushes that give colour and shelter in the Spring and Summer.

The amount of times I see a garden where someone wants a hedgehog to live there where there are a few busy lizzies and a 6 inch high shrub with no cover or protection for the hedgehog or its nesting box.

Provided that you follow the advice above and take most or at least some of the measures below, you will be rewarded by wildlife visiting your garden.

WOOD PILE:

wood pileHedgehogs might build a nest underneath and, if left undisturbed for some time, algae and mosses will cover it, attracting insects. They will, in turn, be fed on by larger garden creatures. The dark interior may also encourage slow worms (another predator of the slug) to seek shelter.

COMPOST HEAP:

compost binBirds will feed off the mini-beasts that congregate in a compost heap, as will Hedgehogs and toads who will nest in its centre. A word of warning though before using the compost: test the base and sides gently for sleeping wildlife.

MINI-POND/BOG GARDEN:

Hedgehog friendly pond
An area of water attracts a multitude of creatures including frogs, toads, newts, diving beetles, water scorpions and thirsty Hedgehogs. Choose an area away from trees (especially sycamore). One side of the pond should gradually slope to allow Hedgehogs and other small wildlife an exit. Butyl rubber pond liners are recommended. Around at least one third of the pond perimeter include a shelf which should be only 5-6cms below the normal water level. Put stone-free soil on top of the shelf and introduce some native water plants. Recommended water plants: water milfoil, water starwort, miniature water lily, water soldiers. If you don’t want a pond, perhaps because of small children, an area of BOG GARDEN will provide an interesting drinking point for wildlife. Line a shallow depression in your chosen site with pond liner, fill two thirds with soil to hold water. Your bog garden could support: meadowsweet, loosestrifes, marsh marigold, ragged robin, cuckoo flower, cotton grass, bog pimpernel, creeping jenny & reeds.
If you cannot or choose not to have a pond, then put shallow bowls of water in suitable places for the hedgehogs and other wildlife to drink from and keep them topped up daily.

WILDFLOWERS & SUITABLE PLANTS:

Flowers provide nectar and pollen to feed insects such as butterflies, hoverflies and bees. Plant wildflowers from seed (it is illegal to remove them from the wild).

Suttons Seeds and Plants
Wildflower seed packs will probably include: bird’s foot trefoil, vetch, hawkweed, wild white clover, bluebell, broom, wild cornflower, hound’s tongue, common knapweed, lady’s smock and wild marjoram.

Recommended garden plants include: buddleia (attracts butterflies), scabious, ice plant, michaelmas daisy, phlox, sweet william, marigolds, sunflowers, ornamental grasses, wild irises, pyracantha, snowberry, hostas and cotoneaster.

WILD CORNER:

Allow nettles and weeds to take over a corner of your garden. They will provide privacy for small creatures.

Wild part of garden

HEDGES INSTEAD OF FENCES:

bush floweringFlowering hedges provide flowers and fruits for wildlife, nesting places for birds and cover for Hedgehogs, voles and shrews. They are also much more attractive than fences. Recommended hedging species: beech, holly (evergreen winter shelter for roosting birds), alder buckthorn, dog rose, hazel, goat willow, hawthorn, berberis.

ROCKERY:

Toads, newts and female frogs usually spend winter on land, under rockery stones (or in a log pile). Recommended rock plants: aubretia, hardy geraniums, ivies, sedums, sempervivum and wild thyme.

BIRD BATH AND TABLE:

A bird bath provides birds with somewhere to drink and bathe (feather cleaning is essential) and a bird table holding a variety of foods will attract various of our feathered friends. Peanuts in dispensers are favoured by Blue Tits, Coal Tits and Great Tits, but Green-finches, Nuthatches, Siskins and even Woodpeckers might be seen pecking at the nuts.
Seeds and specially purchased bird food sprinkled on the table will attract Finches, Robins, Sparrows and Starlings. Half a coconut provides much needed energy for small birds.

HEDGEHOG, BIRD & BAT and BEE BOXES:

 

Hedgehog nest box Bird nest Box Bat nest box

 

Providing nesting boxes for Hedgehogs, birds and bats and bees might encourage these creatures to reside in your garden, though tenancy cannot be guaranteed!

Place Bird and Bat boxes in trees with cover, but if you have no trees fix them on walls or fences, preferably in the cover of foliage from a climbing plant, and well away from the reach of cats and other predators.

Hedgehog boxes should be sited in a quiet spot hidden by ground covering plants.

DO NOT USE Pesticides or slug pellets in your wildlife garden or you will kill off species which are links in the food chain. Also, you run the risk of killing those creatures you do not wish to harm, as pesticides tend to be indiscriminate and they, and slug pellets CAN and DO kill Hedgehogs. If you are overrun with slugs, you could try beer traps (dishes of beer placed at the bottom of plants into which the slugs fall or climb) or a ‘biological’, non-chemical control, comprising parasitic worms.

The creation of a wildlife garden, or a wildlife area in your garden, will attract a multitude of wild creatures and go some way toward redressing the balance of human interference with nature, which has destroyed so many habitats in the countryside.
Also, by helping Hedgehogs, birds and bats and bees to survive the winter and providing places for them to raise their young, you will be rewarded by their helping to keep garden pests under control.
Now, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour! Spend time in your wildlife garden just looking, and get to know the many and varied creatures that share it with you.

 

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