Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Wild Child!

Sometimes M&D say I am a wild child - I think they mean that as a compliment ;) Wildlife are wonderful creatures and we are always looking for ways to encourage them into the garden as they help us gardeners with pests. (1)  At this time of year we need to pay particular attention to helping out our furry (or not so furry) friends. So here are my top and super-easy ways to help look after the wild life in your garden over winter. Oh and a cute hedgehog project you can do one evening as it's too dark to go out and play...

Wildlife needs our help over winter


Be a bit messy! 
Now isn't this just the best tip ever?!? An overly tidy garden means there are less places for wildlife to hide. So leave a few piles of leaves or upturned pots in quiet areas of the garden and you may find some invertebrates or hedgehogs come along and make a home for themselves. Ladybirds gather in large clusters on dead plant stems in quiet areas of the garden so don't prune plants too much just now, wait until the end of winter. Also, avoid cutting your hedge until the end of winter so as not to disturb nesting birds or remove any berries. Wonder if this messy logic applies to my bedroom...

Who wouldn't want to help this lil fella?

Empty nesters!
If you haven't already done it, clean out those nesting boxes so that birds have somewhere cosy to shelter through winter. Double check no-one is in there nesting already before you disturb them though!

Provide a home for the winter birdies
Feeding Time
It's important to feed our wildlife over winter when their natural source of food isn't readily available. As well as using traditional seeds, peanuts, fat balls etc on bird tables and feeding stations consider the planting in your garden. Berries and seedheads are popular with many birds as well as looking pretty and adding winter interest. And windfall fruits can provide food for wildlife. Remember to clean out our bird feeders regularly and keep them hygienic. (It's not just us kids that have to wash our hands and stay clean!) 

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Hole in One
Ask a grown up to drill some holes into old logs or some left over wood your M&D may have left over from a DIY project and leave them in a quiet corner. Insects and bees will make a home here over winter. 

Ladybirds will overwinter on dead stems
Perfect Planting
Winter is a great time to review your garden and think you want to do in the year ahead. If there are plants you don't like too much and aren't providing much for wildlife or providing winter interest then look at removing some and adding in some lovely new plants that wildlife adore like foxgloves, verbena, echinops, sedum or plants with berries such as holly, skimmia and rowan.

Bee and butterfly friendly planting is important

Hopefully all sorts of wildlife will now have a cosy home and plenty to eat in your garden. But if you want to have some wildlife in the house then why not try this great hedgehog craft project...

Hedgehog Hands

You will need:

  • Some coloured paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Toilet roll tube
  • Pom pom
  • Googly eyes
  • Glue

To make:

1. Draw round both hands on some coloured paper. To make it quicker, put four sheet of paper together so you can cut through them all at once. Do this again on another colour of paper to create contrasting spikes. We chose brown and orange as they are nice and autumnal but any colour would be fine. I think a purple and pink glittery hedgehog would be cool!

Draw round your hand on coloured paper

2. Take a toilet roll and ask a grown up to cut it down a little smaller. Then cut it in half long ways to open it up. You then need to roll it again at a diagonal so that it forms a cone. Glue it in place and then cover with some coloured paper.

Make your pointy face from a toilet roll and coloured paper

3. Glue your paper hands onto a piece of card to make the hedgehogs spikes.

I love gluing and sticking!

4 Glue your cone onto the hands to make a pointy face. Add the pom pom to the end to make a nose and add some googly eyes (or buttons) to the face.

Add a pom pom and some eyes
5. Fold up the spikes a little to make them spikier and more 3D.

The finished 3D hands hedgehog

And there you have it, a hedgehog made of hands! Happy hibernating!

Hugs & kisses,





1. Sometimes M&D call me a pest too but I don't think that's a compliment!)

Thanks to the clever people at Fantastic Fun & Learning for the inspiration for this project.