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One interesting outcome from the global pandemic has been the surge in interest in gardening – no doubt because we’ve all been spending so much time at home due to lockdown and we’ve been blessed with some particularly good weather over the last few weeks.
Gardening is such a mindful activity that it’s no wonder it’s risen in popularity this year – we all need something to escape what’s going on in the wider world and being outside, getting lots of fresh air, learning new skills and growing all sorts of wonderful garden delights is a brilliant and very effective way to go about this.
But you need to be mindful about your immediate surroundings, as well, as there are all sorts of animals whose habitats you’re potentially disturbing and you need to respect their space while building the perfect garden.
Hedgehogs, for example, are a quintessential part of the English garden but they’re very endangered and you need to do all you can to help keep their numbers in the wild high. The little critters are great for the garden, as well, as they’ll eat their way through all your slugs and snails.
Rewilding your garden (also known as ungardening) is one way to help support the UK’s hedgehog population, as this encourages more wildlife and reduces the changes of a gardening-related accident taking place.
According to Country Living, hedgehog rescue centres have seen a sharp increase in the number of injuries sustained by these garden visitors over the last couple of months, and people have been warned to be extra careful when using tools like forks, lawnmowers and strimmers.
Wildlife expert at Spike’s Hedgehog Food Lizzie Jennings said: “Sadly, every year hundreds of hedgehogs are admitted into rescue centres due to serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
“Whether it’s strimmers, lawnmowers or even pesticides, many of the common gardening techniques means a large number of gardening enthusiasts are unwittingly making life so much harder for their local wildlife.”
Rewilding your garden could be a fun summer project for you and your family, and it will certainly be interesting to watch it take its own shape season to season. Perhaps cordon off a small area of your lawn and stop mowing it, which will help encourage growth of nectar-rich plants, like clover, which can provide food for pollinators.
What about getting the kids to make a few bug hotels to put in the ground? These provide shelter for all sorts of different insects – and you could do something similar for small animals by piling up sticks here and there.
Don’t forget your flying friends either and make sure that you’ve put food out for the birds. If you want a variety of different birds, make sure there’s a wide variety of different foods!
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