Turning Leaf Garden Design exhibited at the Nation Flower Show 2016 which took place at Hylands House and Estate, Chelmsford, Essex.
Amongst the usual rich variety of plants and garden paraphernalia one fellow exhibitor, or rather his prickly companion, seemed to be the centre of a great deal of attention, including ours: ‘Come and meet the hedgehog!’
With Hedgehog Awareness Week, an annual countrywide event organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, just past, it makes sense to spend some more thought on what makes those popular garden visitors welcome when it comes to garden design.
At RHS garden Harlow Carr, the first permanent hedgehog-friendly garden in the UK was launched in April to increase awareness and demonstrate which hedgehog-friendly aspects can be included in a green space from a horticultural point of view.
To make sure hedgehogs become regular visitors to our gardens, it is essential to provide suitable nesting sites, access to neighbouring gardens, safe water features and sufficient wildlife friendly plants/ vegetation.
Here are just a few points to consider when designing and maintaining your garden:
- - Plant wildlife friendly trees, shrubs and herbaceous to encourage insects and invertebrates to provide food for hedgehogs
- - Use hedges instead of fencing where possible to form boundaries – you can always install square mesh wire fencing (deer fencing), buried within a double staggered row of hedging to secure the garden for dogs while allowing small wildlife to pass unimpeded
- - Provide an accessible compost heap for nesting and hibernation opportunities and check for hedgehogs before digging it over
- - Leave dead wood where appropriate and safe, to create woodpiles for undisturbed nesting
- - Install any garden netting/sports netting approx. 30cm above ground level, leaving a gap to the base
- - Include a small pond or water area in your garden and keep ponds topped up so hedgehogs are less likely to topple in – ‘natural’ features with graded sides are safe as hedgehogs can easily enter and exit the water – if you have a formal feature with straight sides, supply a timber ‘ladder’ so that wildlife can climb out
- - Allow for ‘wild’ areas of long grass for shelter and check for hedgehogs before mowing
- - Opt for organic pest control then the hedgehogs themselves will become part of your garden’s pest control regime!
Further information is available on the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s website (www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk) and a wealth of leaflets can be downloaded and through the Hedgehog Street wildlife campaign on www.hedgehogstreet.org.
If you would like help realising the full potential of your garden we provide a full range of services: ‘Design, Create, Maintain’ so don’t hesitate to contact us! Alternatively for more professional advice on garden maintenance and design tips keep following our blog.