How well do you know our spiny visitors?

how well do you know pages 2 and 3

Photo credit: Wild About Gardens Week

We’re now into day two of Wild About Gardens Week (26 October – 1 November) and what a soggy day it is. Still, it might encourage slugs, snails and worms out into our gardens for the hedgehogs, this year’s star of Wild About Gardens Week, so they can have a pre hibernation feast. To see how citizen science is informing us of hedgehog hibernation patterns see: hibernation report

Don’t forget to look in any bonfires you might be lighting for Halloween and Guy Fawkes night to check for wildlife. If you find an animal please make sure you move it a safe distance away.


Photo credit: British Hedgehog Society on Twitter

Small creatures like piles of wood and leaves for shelter, so why not help them in your garden by providing a pile just for them? Other things we can do as recommended in the Wild About Gardens Week Hedgehog Handbook include:

1. Create ‘hedgehog highways’ in your fences to connect your gardens.

2. Provide an escape route out of ponds – ‘hogs are great swimmers but they struggle to climb out.

3. Create a variety of habitats e.g. ponds, hedges, log piles and compost heaps to attract food for the hedgehog.

4. Build a hedgehog home – give them somewhere to hunker down for the winter.

5. Let your grass grow wild (or even a section of it) to encourage the hedgehog’s prey. Check carefully before mowing or strimming areas.

6. Create nesting opportunities – leave wild areas for ‘hogs to hibernate.

7. Set up a feeding station offering hedgehog food or meaty pet food and water.

8. Tidy up – litter harms wildlife, and hedgehogs can also become entangled in garden netting.

9. Keep domestic drains covered, hedgehogs can fall into them and get stuck.

10. Check bonfires before lighting; ideally rebuild them on the day it is to be lit.

11. Keep your gardens green – paving and decking over gardens reduces hedgehog habitat.

These activities are most beneficial if we work together as a community. For the full text of the Wild About Gardens Hedgehog Handbook go to: Hedgehog Handbook

Orchard Park Wildlife Project will be in Lush, Lion Yard on Saturday 31 October from 12-4pm to give wildlife gardening tips. Come along and make a pledge to help our local wildlife, there’ll be wildlife colouring for children, and find out how to enter a photo competition to win hedgehog prizes – Royal Horticultural Society Hedgehog Photo Comp. Lush are also very kindly fundraising again for Orchard Park Wildlife Project – if you buy their Charity Pot on Saturday, proceeds will go towards equipment for Orchard Park Wildlife Project’s activities. We are very grateful to Lush once again for their generosity.

Wild About Gardens Week – focussing on Hedgehogs


Gardening for wildlife!

This year’s Wild About Gardens week will run from 26 October – 1 November 2015 and will focus on gardening for hedgehogs. These amazing little creatures could be extinct in the UK if we don’t help – there are thought to be fewer than 1 million hedgehogs in the UK today, and they’ve declined by 30% in just ten years. Our gardens in Orchard Park are great for hedgehogs as many don’t have solid garden fences which block their access – instead our connected gardens can form ‘hedgehog highways’. We can feed hedgehogs, provide a home, and reduce potential dangers to them. If we work together as a community, we can help hedgehogs, and other wildlife in our neighbourhood.

For detailed guidance and fun activities see: Hedgehog Booklet and Wild About Gardens

Lush are very kindly holding another Charity Pot Party fundraiser for Orchard Park Wildlife Project – we will be in the Cambridge store on Saturday 31st October between 12-4pm – we’ll be sharing Wild About Gardens Week’s wildlife advice and asking people to pledge to do something wild in their garden. Come and say hello to us and the lovely folks at Lush 🙂

From the Surrey Wildlife Trust – wildlife gardening tips for winter

Blue tit, Orchard Park garden winter 2012

Blue tit, Orchard Park garden winter 2012

Click on the link above to get some tips on how to help wildlife this winter, from feeding birds, to making a nest box, planting a container, to providing water – the fact sheet and nest box instructions give all the information you need. The wildlife doesn’t know it’s Christmas, but I’m sure they’d benefit from such gifts as finding food and shelter becomes more important during the cold season.