30 Days Wild: Idea 19-Hedgehog feeder

I have a wooden hedgehog home but I don’t like to put food in where I want the hedgehogs to settle. My hedgehog feeding station isn’t particularly swish. It’s a homemade effort but it does the job effectively. I bought a cheap plastic storage box, sawed a hole in and taped around the rough edges. The bricks on the top are to stop the cats getting in. It might not look amazing but it does the job. Hedgehogs have used it and it gives them a safe place I can put food and water. Apart from being rather pleasant animals, they are great at eating slugs. I use the trail camera to track them but every so often I’m lucky and go out at night and see one.

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Six on a Saturday-14.4.18

The weather has remained horrible for much of this week. However there are signs of gradual improvement. The temperature is slightly warmer. I managed in the garden without a coat yesterday.

Currently my garden has a bit of a void. It’s transitioning between seasons. The crocus and glory of the snow are going over or gone. The camelia is still flowering, but wilt is setting in. The daffodils are still going adding bursts of sunshine and the forget me nots are starting to bloom. I’m eager with anticipation for tulips and then Summer flowers.

1 self seeders

Across the borders many plants have self seeded. I selected many cottage garden favourites for just reason when planting my first flowers. From a small patch of forget me nots under two years ago any bare earth has been claimed by forget me nots. The first are flowering now adding small patches of sky blue to the border just visible from the house.

The foxgloves have seeded in a nice drift behind the bench in the shade. I love the appearance of foxglove’s flowers. There structure being visually appealing to me.

I’ve even got a few hollyhock seedlings establishing themselves around.

2 Skimmia Japonica

The skimmia has given me a good dash of colour through Winter. It has now opened its flower’s revealing the dainty white flowers.

3 Roses

Last month I won garden vouchers from linking to The Old House in the Shires Linky on garden blogs. This includes many good reads on gardening. With my vouchers I thought I’d go with a few plants that will hopefully last a good while. Both options I’ve gone for are strongly scented. In my mind roses are supposed to be scented and many modern varieties have lost this. I’m not a big fan of roses however having bought some tougher gold leaf gloves and enjoyed the long flowering season of several of the existing roses I’m coming round to them. Much of my planting is cottage garden style and roses suit the garden.

Cottage maid has white flowers with speckled pink lines much like a raspberry ripple ice cream. Then Charles de Mills has been a popular choice amongst rose growers for many years. It only flowers once I believe, but it has reasonable foliage for the rest of the year to make up for it. With some under planting I can still have colour coming through.

I’ve planted them in a big hole with new compost and root powder to give them a good start. I wrote on planting roses before with my climbing roses and they seem to be taking off now.

4 Dicksonia Antarctica

Also with the vouchers I bought a Dicksonia Antarctica. This fern can grow to large sizes eventually, though growth will be gradual year on year. I’ve wanted one for a while. It would be nice have one further on its growth. However the price rapidly goes up for a larger one. This will be planted in my shady shed area. I haven’t planted yet as I wanting to check advice on the best means of planting.

The patch it will be going into.

5 Jasmine

On my continuing quest to establish climbers over the fence I have planted two jasmine. Jasmine Stephanese have fragrant flowers that are generally white, but can be pink or sometimes yellow. They fruit a black berry. This was another purchase from tesco’s along with the passionflowers purchased previously. As mentioned with the roses I’m hoping to make more of scent in the garden. I have a wonderful section of fence covered in honeysuckle, however it is behind trees and only smelled when I prune it. My lilac bush is beautiful scented, but short lived. So it would be nice to have more pleasing fragrances.

6 Gertrude Jekyll

Over the last week I’ve read Gertrude Jekyll’s the beauties of a Cottage Garden. While there was little actually discussing cottage gardens, it was still informative despite the 100 years since publication. I did like this paragraph:

But the lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others is to know the enduring happiness that the love of garden gives. I rejoice when I see one, and especially children, enquiring about flowers, and wanting gardens of their own, and carefully working in them. For the love of gardening never dies, but always grows and grows to enduring and ever increasing source of happiness.

Following from the child comment, my little gardener has been in the garden with me moving one weed at a time. She is getting a reward with the last of my vouchers. I’ve bought her Percy from Thomas the Tank engine to go with her Thomas from the New Forest. I haven’t given it to her yet, but I’m sure she’ll be happy with it Percy is one of her favourite characters.

Having reported on wildlife provisions in the garden last week I set up the trail camera for the first time this year. I’m pleased to report hedgehogs came in last night twice. Not sure if it was the same one twice or different, but either way happy they are still visiting.

Hope you all have lovely weekends with the improved weather.

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Hedgehog Home Survey

Just a quick mention that the Hedgehog Preservation Society are starting a new survey to help combat declining hedgehog numbers. The survey is asking about different hedgehog homes people put out, whether you feed any of the mammals and birds in your garden and about other potential homes in your garden. It only takes a few minutes to complete if you have a chance to do it. The survey runs to October, so plenty of time.

https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/help-hedgehogs/housingcensus/https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/help-hedgehogs/housingcensus/

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I’ve discussed helping hedgehogs before, but it’s worth repeating.

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My homes have yet to be used for hibernation, but I only put them in last year. I do get plenty of hedgehog visitors though. I also discovered we get hedgehogs visiting at school, so set up a home there as well. So fingers crossed may get some hibernating this year.

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30 days of wild: day 21-bumps in the night

The last few nights I’ve set up the trail camera hoping to see evidence that the hedgehogs are coming back in the garden with no luck. With the extreme heat I’ve been worried that they might suffer from dehydration. I have water left in various locations around the garden for the use of birds, insects, amphibians and mammals to help during these dry periods, but hedgehogs are quite susceptible to dehydration.

I set up the trail camera with a few hours left of light. It saw a few visitors before nightfall.

Then during the night the first visitor wasn’t the hedgehog, but it was mammalian in nature. It was one of the mice that I believe live under the shed and come out for the bird feed. I keep the bird feed in sealed metal buckets to avoid them eating it all directly, but I can’t stop them from going to the feeders. But it is always nice to see any form of mammal surviving in the garden.

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Then later in the night I’m glad to say the hedgehog was spotted by the trail camera. It hasn’t been drained by the heat. I still love that they visit the garden a year on from discovery. Last year during 30 days I discovered hedgehogs and foxes on the school site. In my new garden I’ve got the hedgehogs, but I will admit to missing the fox sightings. Maybe in the future I’ll see more. For now I’ll enjoy my hedgehog footage.

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Focus on hedgehogs

Having a hedgehog home to set up at school hedgehogs seem like a good choice for today’s focus. Hedgehogs are currently visiting both my garden and school outdoor classroom, so at some point over 30 days I will look at getting some more footage.

Hedgehogs are common to gardens and parks across the UK. It helps if you have ground cover or bushes for them to make a get away into. The name age hedgehog They are nocturnal creatures, mainly leading solitary lives. They come together to mate. If this happens in your garden you will know. Breeding hedgehogs through Spring are noisy creatures.

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They are worth attracting into your garden as they eat many of the garden visitors considered pests such as slugs and snails. They will also eat beetles, amphibians, and bird eggs. They are however under threat due to a variety of factors. Hedgehogs need to roam around at night and the trend to for fence panels and brick walls around gardens puts a stop to this. While hedgehogs can climb a brick wall represents a cliff face to them. Then the desire for tidy gardens with artificial grass and few plants is again cutting down on food supplies.

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So to help them there are a number of things you can do. Leaving out water, hedgehog food or meaty cat food. Providing hedgehog homes. Be careful if you disturb your compost heaps during Autumn and Winter. Many hedgehogs may hibernate there and garden forks can cause a nasty injury. Making hedgehog holes in your fence to allow passage makes a big difference.

For more details check previous blog.

Hedgehog awareness week.

Wildlife trust advise

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30 days of wild: day 6-Providing for nature

Today has seen me largely out of class attending meetings. Necessary ones, but I prefer being with the kids. It has been another wet day. If I’d been in with the kids a bit more might have done dancing in the rain.

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The rain has helped water in the apple tree I planted before the holiday. However the weeds are coming back quick as well.

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As it’s been a busy day just did a quick wild act My dad had donated an unwanted bird feeder stand. So I’ve got that set up but need to raid my shed to find some spare bird feeders to fill it.

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My dad also donated a hedgehog house, which I’ll look at setting up somewhere better tomorrow. Having seen before the holiday that we have hedgehogs it would be nice to provide for them.

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On the commute to work I’ve enjoyed another wild act listening to an audiobook E.O. Wilson-Half Earth. Wilson is one of my favourite evolutionist writers. In this book he is outlining a change to how we conserve the Earth. I will review properly when finished. Not the wildest day, but back in with my class tomorrow.

Outdoor classroom-music area and hedgehogs

One of my TAs husbands generously spent part of his weekend making a new music area for our F2 playground. With pallets from his work, a selection of kitchen pans and a dismatled xylophone we have a new music area. This adds to the provision we don’t need to bring in and out each day making our job easier. The day has been wet, but still a good number of kids investigating. I’m grateful to have a team of staff keen to move things on and keep improving provision.

I’ve also been working out what wildlife we see in our setting. I left the trail camera for the weekend to discover a hedgehog crossing the playground. I expected urban foxes, not hedgehogs. The children were delighted to see the video.

https://youtu.be/7KllJux-d8s

At the weekend added another bee to the list I can identify. Last year taking part in the Great British bee hunt I came to know white tailed bumblebees and honey bees well as they were the few visitors to my old garden. New garden though has seen common carder bee. Its strange how joy can be gained from simply identifying a bee, but it does make me happy learning more about these wonderful creatures.

All human knowledge is precious whether it serves the slightest human use.
A.E. Houseman


Hedgehog Awareness Week

This week is hedgehog awareness week. As such I thought I better check my hedgehog is still happy with the trail cam. I set it up for last night to check it’s still coming in to visit.

I’m glad to report it’s still there. Each time I check the trail cam and see it there on the photos and videos it still gives a thrill that these lovely creatures visit my garden.

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To get the hedgehogs in I did three things to encourage them to visit.

Last year I cut a small hole at the bottom of the back gate to allow the hedgehogs in. Fences can pose a serious obstacle to hedgehogs with many houses changing to impenetrable brick walls. Hedgehogs can cover a lot of ground in a night, but not if they find their path blocked. It does work, as I’ve seen them coming through when taking food waste down to the compost heap.

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A plastic box with a hole cut out made my hedgehog feeding station. The hole was covered round with duck tape to avoid sharp edges. While not the prettiest looking object it allows the hedgehog to feed without next doors cats eating it. The brick is just to weigh it down, so cats can’t get in to eat the food. You can buy neater looking wooden ones with spaces built in for feeding and hibernating.

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Wire hedgehog homes provide a place to hibernate. Mine haven’t been settled in yet, but the hedgehog does come and investigate it.

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Last weeks countryfile episode, in Warwickshire, featured a short section on hedgehog awareness week discussing more of what you can do.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08pnvmg/countryfile-warwickshire

At school I haven’t managed to fit in any hedgehog related activities, so I will be building awareness a week behind.

That’s not my hedgehog-Fiona Watt

These touchy-feely books are loved by Alice. While low on plot, babies and toddlers love the different textured surfaces. While very basic I did use some of this series teaching year one about adjectives.

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The very helpful hedgehog-Rosie Wellesley

This nice little story talks about the many varieties of apples available and teaches about being helpful and friendship.

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For more grown up reading material with less anthropomorphising, Hugh Warick has a nice little book as park of  Reaktion Books animal series.

Hedgehog-Hugh Warwick

It’s been nice looking back over the blogs from the last year of what I’ve done to help hedgehogs. They’ve brought me lots of pleasure. Hedgehogs seem to be one of those animals everyone has a story about with everyone at one point having them in their gardens. What’s your hedgehog memories?

Hedgehog feeding

As part of my RSPB home for nature plan I was set the task of opening a hedgehog cafe.

 

Details of here: https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/makeahomeforwildlife/givenatureahomeinyourgarden/gardenactivities/openahedgehogcafe/

I haven’t set up the box station yet, but got a feeding tray and water tray ready next to the hedgehog home.

 

For those who have been following the blog you’ll of seen my highways and byways have had some success getting a hedgehogs into the garden.

Last night I had some of the busiest activity from my hedgehog visitor. I got some of the best footage on the trail cam. Then with Alice rising early for a morning feed at 4 I actually got to see the hedgehog this morning shuffling around the garden rather than just on the trail cam.

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