Giving nature a home

The rspb are currently running a lovely campaign called “giving nature a home”.

They say ”Gone are vast swathes of wild flower meadows, miles of hedgerows and hundreds of ponds: there are fewer and fewer places for wildlife to call home. More than 60% of the UK species assessed are declining, so it’s more important than ever that we work together to help them”.

I sent off for my free guide and am happy to say myself and the mindees can tick off some of their 20 suggestions and we are pleased we are doing our bit to give nature a home.

No 2. “Cut back on cutting back” The guide recommends that “Rather than rushing into action with the secateurs as soon as your flowers have died off, leave them to go to seed. Birds, such as goldfinches, will appreciate the extra food, and minibeasts may hibernate in hollow stems over winter. The dry seed heads also add visual interest to otherwise bare winter borders”. So, here at Aston Childcare, we are leaving the sunflowers that we planted back in April that have since died alone.

No 3. “Grow flowering plants” The guide says that they “provide shelter for insects, which in turn provide food for birds and small mammals”. We are growing some tulips and daffodils which we hope to see bloom early next year.

No. 6 “Create little green patches” The guide says “Herbs such as thyme and rosemary make perfect container plants – not only are they brilliant for insects, they taste great too!”. Here at Aston childcare we have grown some rosemary and mint and the mindees have written plant markers.

No. 11 “Make a bug hotel” The guide says “You can make your hotel as large or small as you wish – the only limitation is your imagination. Just remember to provide as many nooks and crannies as you can for minibeasts and other wildlife to shelter in”. One of my mindees has made a great bug hotel and filled it with twigs and fircones and covered it in leaves to appeal to the minibeasts. She wanted to put tissue inside so that the bugs “would be comfy!”.

No. 13 “Bring your garden to life with dead wood” The guide says “At first glance, a pile of dead wood might look just that – dead. But look closer and you’ll see that it’s alive with all kinds of fungi, mosses and lichens. As it decays, it will become a thriving bug hotel for a variety of minibeasts, and frogs, toads and other creatures may shelter in the nooks and crannies. What’s more, a dead wood pile is really easy to create. Just stack a variety of logs and branches in a sheltered spot and wait for the wildlife to move in!” Here at Aston Childcare, our log store is a favourite of birds and we’ve recently spotted many a robin taking up residence there.

No. 19 “Set up a garden restaurant” The guide says “Providing additional food all year round will give the birds in your garden a boost, helping them to get through hard times and to feed their families. Calorie-rich bird cake will help birds to fatten up and survive cold winter weather, while juicy mealworms are particularly appreciated in spring, when busy parents are on the lookout for insects to feed to their growing chicks”. We have left out fat balls for the birds on the bird feeder.

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