Winter can be a difficult time for garden wildlife, with food in short supply. Fortunately, there’s plenty of gardening for wildlife you can do in autumn, which will help wildlife get through the winter months.
As well as growing wildlife-friendly plants, you can provide sheltered habitats and create winter homes for beetles, hedgehogs and frogs.
Discover how to welcome wildlife to your garden during autumn and winter, below.
Avoid disturbing potential shelters
Avoid disturbing potential shelters, such as leaf piles and compost heaps that could be used by hedgehogs and toads, which enter hibernation in autumn. As for bonfires, dismantle them and rebuild right before lighting, as they make ideal winter habitats for hedgehogs. Discover 10 ways to help hedgehogs.
Piling collected autumn leaves
Plant nectar-rich bulbs
Nectar-rich bulbs such as crocus, snake’s head fritillary, alliums and grape hyacinths can be planted now to feed next year’s hungry emerging bees. Find out how to make your garden bee-friendly in winter.
Dangling purple flowers of snake’s head fritillary
Plant wildlife-friendly trees and hedges
Now’s the time to plant bare-root, wildlife-friendly trees like hawthorn, alder buckthorn and pussy willow. Grow as hedging or plant as individual specimens to attract moths and other herbivores, which in turn will attract more birds, bats, hedgehogs and amphibians. Find out how to plant a bare-root tree, a bare-root shrub and a bare-root hedge.
Watering a newly planted bare-root hedge
Leave garden borders intact
Many perennials have attractive seedheads that are also beneficial to wildlife. Don’t cut these back in autumn. If you can, leave at least one border intact where seedheads can provide food for birds and fallen stems can create shelter for amphibians, insects and small mammals.
Seedheads in a border