Who's moving into your garden this winter?

Goldfinch © Steve Davis 

October has arrived and while we feel the chill of Autumn and the inky night skies drawing in, leaves are ready to burst into warm, vibrant hues of red and gold. This final instalment of pollinator-friendly tips and ideas focuses on ensuring there are cosy homes and spaces for your garden visitors, plus some sustenance for those braving the winter months.

What to do:

If you haven’t done so already, there’s still time to make a wildlife home for the garden. Whether for hedgehogs, bats, birds, bees or insects, this will provide welcome shelter ready for the Winter or Spring.  This month you can also bring your solitary bee homes into a greenhouse, shed or garage to protect them from the cold, wet winter months and clean any bird baths.  Leave fallen leaves for some natural protection and shelter for wildlife or, if this isn’t possible, leave them in a pile in a quiet corner of your garden.  If you have Ivy, allow this to flower and produce berries well into the winter and leave any seed heads on plants – these will provide a welcome and vital sweet treat for birds.

What to see

  • Look out for Fungi springing up in your garden this month
  • Garden spiders will be weaving their webs across your garden plants and furniture
  • Flocks of goldfinches may visit your garden to feed
  • Goldcrests (the UKs smallest bird) may be seen picking insects from tree branches throughout midwinter
  • There will be plenty of bugs hiding in nooks and crannies in your garden- lifting a stone or log here and there can reveal an assortment of minibeasts!

What to plant:

Autumn is a good time to get trees and shrubs into the ground so that they can establish themselves before the cold winter sets in. Trees and shrubs are especially important for pollinators as they will provide blossom come the Spring.

If you have room then you may wish to consider planting a beautiful native tree or hedge in your garden which will give blossom, fruit or nuts, shelter, shade and add a vertical element to your garden. If you have a small space, then you may wish to consider dwarf varieties of cherry or apple which can cope with growing in a container.

Shrubs and trees (some of these will be available to buy in November):

  • Blackthorn
  • Hawthorn
  • Hazel
  • Buckthorn
  • Elder
  • Spindle
  • Dog rose

For the large garden you may have room to plant a larger specimen of tree such as:

  • Alder
  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Hornbeam
  • Limes
  • Oaks
  • Yew
  • Poplar
  • Plant Spring bulbs such as daffodils, snowdrops, grape hyacinths, tulips, crocus, winter aconite, bluebell, allium