by Jan Curry from The Round Hill Reporter December 2006
“Let’s go to bed” must be in the minds of many creatures in our gardens
, even if there are still leaves on the trees in the middle of November. I have a hedgehog box in mine, beautifully made by my husband with all mod cons - a short tunnel leading into a dry, roomy waterproof box, lined with dry leaves... I’m pretty sure, however, the hedgehog is snug under the shed. There is an empty state-of-the-art ladybird box (a present from the grandchildren - I didn’t buy it, honest!) but a hoard of ladybirds have snuggled down together in a deep crack in the bark of the plum tree. A number of over-wintering moths and butterflies have chosen to hibernate in the shed rather than the posh box provided, and so it goes on.
Insects have burrowed down the dead stems of summer plants. A group of toads and frogs are huddled up under a flat piece of plywood I never got round to picking up - they will bury themselves down in the soil as winter progresses and the board will keep off the worst of any frost. If you have piled material up for a bonfire,don’t forget to check before you light it - there are bound to be some sleeping insects or animals in there who misguidedly thought it was a convenient nest.
The birds are roosting deep inside the shrubs at the moment, but from past experience I know the smaller ones at least will appreciate my efforts to keep them warm and will pile into nest boxes when the weather becomes harsh. I don’t tidy up this garden until spring, so there’s plenty of shelter and cover. I have never seen so many berries on the trees and shrubs as there are this year, so hopefully the birds, insects and animals that have amazingly found their way here and into all our gardens on the Round Hill will survive the next few challenging months. They deserve to, surrounded as they are by concrete, busy roads, a railway, a waster transfer station and property developers determined to chip away at any available green space, however tiny.
Right now I’m going to bed - I’ll feed the birds in the morning!