Winter gardening for hedgehogs

It's cold outside, but don't let that keep you from tinkering around in the garden.

Cracking snapping by Simon Oldfield

Here are five jobs you can do that will directly help hedgehogs:

1) Create an underground nesting area

Steve Oram's ingenious hedgehog lair...

Hedgehogs readily nest underneath sheds

2) Replace grouting with sprouting!

The more plants you have, and the greater the variety, the better your garden will be for hedgehogs - it's as simple as that.

Look for the opportunities to increase the planting area in your garden

Replace concrete grout with a mixture of soil, sand and flower seeds

In a few months intrepid colonists will start to emerge - and these will encourage insects that hedgehogs eat. Here I've used wild marjoram.

Good plants to grow between paving are compact, creeping herbs like thyme and marjoram, because when you tread on them they'll smell delicious AND you can use them for cooking. Or wild flowers like self heal and bird's-foot trefoil. Some wild plant seeds need a cold spell to stimulate germination so now is the ideal time to sow them.

Argyranthemum frutescens at RHS Wisley

Take a look at the RHS Greening Grey Britain campaign for more ideas...

3) Use prunings to make a mini woodpile

Logpiles don't have to be big to be beneficial - let nature break down your prunings

Dead wood is one of the best things for encouraging wildlife. Learn more about it here...

4) Chemical clear out

It's not just slug pellets that can harm hedgehogs

Organic gardening is cheap, easy and good for all wildlife.

Herbicides, insecticides and molluscicides are all bad for hedgehogs.

Here is some advice about how to dispose of chemicals safely.

5) Fight articial grass

Artificial grass is a worrying new trend for willdife

Does anyone on your street have this awful stuff? Beetles and worms cannot live on plastic grass and these are the things hedgehogs eat. Try and convince your friends that artifical grass is a terrible idea.

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Looking forward to a hedgehog-friendly spring...

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