Green Shoots and Green Gardening
Spring is here! The soil is starting to warm up, so you’re probably tidying borders, moving plants around, or sowing hardy annual seeds.
Whilst bulbs are blooming and birds are singing, March can actually be quite a difficult time for garden wildlife. Temperatures can still fall well below zero at night, so invertebrates such as earthworms, beetles and caterpillars may still be taking shelter. Garden birds will have eaten all but the last of the berries, and with less insect food available, they can often go hungry, just at a time when they need to be in good condition for breeding. So do continue to feed birds calorie-rich food such as sunflower hearts, fat balls and suet nibbles to help them prepare for breeding.
As nest-building begins you can help garden birds by tying up bunches of tiny twigs, dried moss and other stringy vegetable matter near your feeders.
Love is in the year, and March is the key month for breeding amphibians. Frog spawn in clumps is first, followed by stringy lengths of toad spawn a couple of weeks later. If you’re lucky and have newts, shine a light into your pond at night to see males performing a courtship dance to woo females! If you don’t have room for a pond - or are not inclined to dig one - sink an old washing-up bowl halfway into the ground in a quiet and shady spot. A large stone put inside it helps the critters climb in and out.
Hedgehogs are emerging from hibernation this month and need to build up their fat reserves for breeding. They’ll appreciate water and meat-based cat or dog food, which you should remove in the morning.
Things are stirring in the Gardeners' Club, too! We’re getting ready for the Spring Show on Saturday 26th March. Hopefully you will have collected your hyacinth bulb last year and by now it’s probably indoors waiting to bloom, depending on the weather. Don’t forget to bring it to the show! We’re looking forward to seeing you all after the long winter break.