In your gar­den this month...

Bird Watching (UK) - - Species -

• Robins, of course, will be singing even on the cold­est, short­est days, with males stak­ing out ter­ri­to­ries for the com­ing breed­ing sea­son. If you want to en­cour­age them to stay on and breed, put an open-fronted nest box up now, but choose a spot that Grey Squir­rels and cats can’t climb or jump to. • You could plant a ru­gosa rose (a non-na­tive shrub) now, to pro­vide hips for birds next year. • It’s also a time to plant other trees, hedges, and shrubs, but only if the weather re­mains rel­a­tively mild. • If you have a green­house, then now’s the time to tidy it up. When you do (and in­deed when do­ing any tidy­ing at this time of year), take care not to dis­turb hi­ber­nat­ing crea­tures such as Hedge­hogs. • Plan and dig new bor­ders and beds. • Prune ap­ple trees and other fruit trees. • Check that your climb­ing plants are well tied in to sur­vive any win­ter gales or heavy snow­falls. • It’s also the time to win­ter dig your vegetable plot.

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