In your garden this month
Ponds need attention at this time of year, as male frogs often remain in their depths throughout. Remove decaying plant material (which can decay and poison them and other creatures), and float a tennis ball on the surface to prevent it from icing over.
• If you sweep up leaves from paths or lawns, try moving some to a corner of the garden, or under a hedge, where they can provide shelter for Hedgehogs or other animals.
• Some butterflies enter houses in autumn, but then wake up once the central heating is turned on. If you find one, move it to your garage or shed, using an empty shoe box, and make sure it can exit safely in spring.
• Stacks of plant pots left in a sheltered spot are great for bees and other insects needing a cool, dry place. to spend the winter in.
• Similarly, bundles of twigs at the back of borders can provide shelter for invertebrates and small mammals.
• Remember that now’s the time to clear out nextboxes (use a wire brush and soapy water), so that small birds can use them to shelter in during the worst winter weather. Plus, they’ll be ready for early nesters in spring.