Create your garden patch from scratch
Hedgehogs are keeping the slugs under control in editor Matt’s garden, so his plants are doing rather well
The natural food chain is key to wildlife gardening
O NE OF THE keys to wildlife gardening, of course, is natural pest control – rather than spraying weedkiller or leaving out slug pellets and the like, you let the natural food chain work as it should, and nothing gets too out of hand. Pleasingly, we’re getting plenty of indications that this is paying off now, with mammal and amphibian visitors (or residents, hopefully), helping to keep the balance just about right in our little patch of green.
We’ve had at least one Hedgehog visiting for some time now – the tell-tale black poop is there on the lawn most days – and we’ve had correspondingly very few slugs on our flourishing greenery. If our promising tomato, and strawberry plants do produce plenty of fruits, we’ll know who to thank. This month, we took steps to give our prickly friend somewhere to shelter (see opposite), but there’s one thing above all that will ensure you can get Hedgehogs in your garden, too. That’s to make sure that there are gaps under your fences large enough to let them move from garden to garden, because they need to range across a fairly wide area. Luckily for us, our fences are pretty ill-fitting! If yours aren’t,
though, just cut small semi-circular gaps at the bottom in two or three places. One warm evening in early June, our first Common Frog appeared at the edge of the pond, and, within days, we were seeing three or four more, too. They’ve become regular fixtures, and are no doubt enjoying the large amount of insect life that also uses the pond. Finally, our homemade and shop-bought bug hotels are starting to attract guests, with several holes filled up by solitary bees. So, we bought another mini bee hotel (pictured, right), for any overflow – it comes with a magnifying glass and a little guide to bees for the kids, and Charlotte is already starting to fill it in with details of what we’ve got.