To celebrate World Kindness Day on the 13th November, we are thinking about ways to show kindness to our plants and garden and the wildlife that inhabit it. Here are five things you can do this month that will make a big difference:
Introduce new berrying / fruiting trees and shrubs into your garden this autumn such as Malus, Callicarpa and Pyracantha to provide shelter and a food source for birds. The soil is still warm and relatively soft still so it’s a good time to plant out new additions. You can also put out a range of seeds, fresh unsalted peanuts and table scraps to give them a helping hand. You can also put fat blocks in the wire feeders.
Check your bonfires for hibernating hedgehogs, toads & frogs before lighting them. Give the leaves a gentle prod with a non-sharp stick to wake up any hibernating guests to save them from a grisly end. Turn compost heaps gently as their warmth attracts frog & toads <find out more>
Mulch borders and trees. It has a number of practical benefits, not to mention that it makes your garden look really smart! It can help to suppress weeds as well as lock moisture into the soil. If an organic mulch is used, this will also feed the soil and improve the soil’s structure as it breaks down <read more>
Delay pruning and deadheading. The flowers and berries of Ivy (Hedera) are a valuable food source for both birds and bees. It also provides shelter for overwintering ladybirds and butterflies. Don’t worry about it getting out of control, as you can cut it back in spring.
Leave dead seedheads on perennials such as Rudbeckia as a source of food for birds, Goldfinches especially love these.
Protect your exotic plants. There are lots of different exotic plants that will need protecting or bringing indoors over the winter but for this case study we have decided to focus on banana plants. A little bit of time spent now could save you a lot of money come spring.
STEP 1: Wait until the first frost as bananas will keep on growing right up until that point.
STEP 2: Once the leaves start to show the first signs of frost damage, cut them ALL off so you are left with just the trunk.
STEP 3: Create cage using bamboo canes and chicken wire, stuff it with dry straw.
STEP 4: Use a sack or upturned bucket over the top to keep the worst of the wet off the straw
Wait until the last of the winter / early spring frosts are over to uncover your plants. This could be as late as May, depending on the weather <find out more>