In July, our lawns are teeming with baby animals. Frogs, toads and newts are still leaving ponds in search of cool, damp shelter. Fledgling blackbirds are demanding worms and other food from their harassed parents, and hedgehogs are leaving their nests for the first time, learning how to forage on their own.
Now’s the perfect time to leave out additional food for a variety of species.
More on gardening for wildlife:
Browse our list of wildlife gardening jobs for July, below.
Help baby frogs
Wildlife gardening – grow low-growing plants to protect frogs
Grow low-growing plants at the edges of your pond so that baby frogs have safe hiding places to shelter in. Areas of long grass will also work. Take care when mowing to avoid harming any amphibians sheltering here – you may need to avoid mowing for a couple of weeks, to enable them to disperse safely.
Avoid trimming hedges
Checking that a birds’ nest in a hedge is empty
Blackbirds and thrushes, along with house sparrows, greenfinches and goldfinches, often nest as late as August, so avoiding trimming hedges until the last of this season’s birds have left their nests. Always check hedges thoroughly before trimming.
Sow biennials for pollinators
Wildlife gardening – sow biennials for pollinators
Sow wildlife-friendly biennial plants, such as honesty, teasels (pictured) and foxgloves, that will flower next year.
A hedgehog eating out of a bowl on a lawn
Leave out water and meat-based dog or cat food (ideally chicken flavour) for hedgehogs. Babies should be emerging any day now and this extra food will help them fatten up before going into hibernation in late autumn. If you’re concerned about cats or foxes eating the food instead, make a hedgehog feeding station to enable hedgehogs to feed safely.
Cut down perennial meadows
Cutting down a perennial meadow with a strimmer
Use a strimmer to cut down perennial meadows. It’s best to do this in stages – cut half now and then the other half in a month’s time. Leave seedheads where they fall for a few days to let the seeds scatter into the soil, then gather up the clippings for compost. Then mow the meadow with a lawnmower to make it short and even. Remove all the mowings to avoid enriching the soil – most wildflowers grow best in low-nutrient conditions.