Get Wild With Van Hage!
June marks the arrival of The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild - a prime opportunity to make your garden a haven for Wildlife.
This wonderful month brings with it warm weather, blooming flowers, lush greenery, and lots and lots of much awaited outdoor living. Hooray!
These warmer months aren’t just wonderful for us though, our British wildlife also benefits from the advantages June brings. Natural food such as insects and nectar are in abundance, less rain and cold weather increases survival, full foliage provides shelter and for some species the longer daylight hours help them hunt or forage for longer.
However, that doesn’t mean to say we should stop helping our wildlife thrive during these warmer months. Providing food and shelter all year round can make such a difference. Our fantastic new Pet and Wildlife Department at our Great Amwell store is bursting with ways you can achieve this or pop online and browse through our products. Our Peterborough and Chenies stores have fabulous related departments too.
Feeding Wild Birds in our gardens has become so popular since lockdown and studies have shown this simple activity can reduce stress and anxiety.
Now, you may have noticed fledglings around your garden or parks, frantically fluttering their wings at their parents with beaks wide open begging for food? Many of us know what it’s like having demanding youngsters and appreciate any help offered!
If we keep our feeders and bird tables topped up with seeds, peanuts, and other feed, this will provide essential nutrition for the parent giving them the energy to forage for their young. Meal worms are especially great for fledglings and by placing these on your feeding station too you will be making a huge difference.
We particularly love the:Henry Bell Sterling Feeding Station Kit
Henry Bell Sterling 3 in1 Squirrel Proof Feeder
Henry Bell Squirrel & Large Bird Resistant Ground Feeder
Many species of British wild birds have now had their young and finished nesting, but there are still some that nest right through to July. Intensive farming, deforestation, modern building practices and over-tidy gardens have all made it more difficult for birds to find a place to nest. Nesting boxes are a great way to help out and by hanging a range in your garden or outside space you will be providing another essential service.
Don’t expect an instant result though. Wild birds are cautious, timid little things and it could take a while for them to feel confident to use your boxes. Be patient - you might not get a visitor even after a year, as they will need to be certain the area is safe and will need to check the site out time and time again before they commit.
Where you hang your nest box is essential for success. Most species of bird will require that the box is hung up at least 4m from the ground and don’t forget to attach it securely! We have a wide range of nest boxes that will suit various species of bird. The number one rule though is DO NOT DISTURB! If you are lucky enough to have a resident, then simply leave them to it and watch from a safe distance.
The RSPB have a fantastic guide to help you choose and place your nest box.
Birds need to drink and bathe too and unless you have a pond in your garden with easy access in and out then you will need to provide a source of water for them. A simple garden pot saucer is the most basic method but it will need to be made form a heavy material so that is t does not blow over in the wind. If you’d like a more upgraded feature though have a look at our bird bath ranges in stock.
So, we’ve looked at how we can help the birds that visit our gardens but there are many other creatures that could benefit from a helping hand.
The Hedgehog is the gardener’s best friend as they eat all the slugs and snails that munch their way through our plants and vegetable patches. Hedgehogs are sadly in decline and need as much help from us as possible.
Many get killed on the roads as they can not move freely from garden to garden due to the secure fences and walls that surround our properties. It’s so helpful if you can create a small opening somewhere in your garden to give them safe passage. We have plenty of feed and shelter in stock that will help you make a difference.
Bees and Pollinators are an essential part of our food chain because without them we’d have no crops and like the Hedgehog, their numbers are tragically in decline.
The most obvious way you can help is by filling your outside space with as many pollinating-friendly plants as possible. Wild Flower Seeds Bombs are a great idea too.
We have so many pollinating-friendly plants to choose from at our branches that provide the vital nectar they are seeking. If you are unsure which plants to choose then simply ask one of our friendly staff to point you in the right direction.
If you have a smaller garden or balcony you can still provide flowering plants by
using Pots and Containers. Gorgeous blooms for both you and the bees – everyone’s a winner!
You can also provide Bees and Insects with shelter by using a Bee/Insect Hotel. Tuck one of these somewhere in your garden or hang from a tree or wall and watch them zip in and out as they make this their safe home.
Bats are nocturnal and eat the insects that come out at night. The best way you can ensure they have enough to eat is to plant evening scented plants such as Jasmine or Honeysuckle as these will attract insects.
Many night-time insects are attracted to light too, so use Solar Lighting to reduce your carbon footprint.
You can also provide a bat box for shelter and if you are lucky enough to have a bat roosting in your trees,
outside buildings or lofts then leave them be! Alternatively you can encourage them to roost in your garden by securing a Bat Box in your garden like our favourite pick - the Wildlife World Chavenage Bat Box
It is illegal to remove bats as they are a protected species. For more information follow Bats and the Law.
We have Pet Care in all our stores and online, but have you seen the fantastic new Pet Shop we have at our Great Amwell branch? Its simply bursting with ideas to give your pet a happy and healthy life.
Creating a Pond is a fabulous way to encourage wildlife into your garden and the Wildlife Trust has some excellent tips and advice on how you can achieve this and for children in particular, a pond provides a new and exciting world to discover.
A pond doesn’t have to be a huge, expensive feature in your garden. You can create one by simply using a strong water-tight container with plenty of safe access in and out of the water. Rocks or logs are a good idea for this.
You may find Frogs, Toads and Newts have taken up residence as they need somewhere safe to mate, spawn and feed. You may also see a range of water dwelling insects such as Pond Skaters, Water Boatmen and Dragon Flies paying your pond a visit. We have a wonderful range of aquatic plants available in store and indoor and outdoor pond fish feed, pumps, filters and accessories – just ask a member of staff for tips and advice.
A healthy dose of wildlife watching from the comfort of our own home is both exciting and calming and studies have shown this to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Likewise, taking care of our pets and even the simple act of sitting quietly and stroking them releases serotonin into our bodies making us feel happy and content.
Help yourself by helping them.
Other related sources of information that you may find useful are: