• News from the Gardening Team

    In a new feature for the blog, the gardening team at Flatford Wildlife Garden are giving an update on recent sightings and developments in the garden.

    Flatford Wildlife Garden did not suffer too much in the recent storms but there has been some loose debris to clear up. At the moment we are not removing the normal leaf litter, seed heads and dead foliage as it is being used by hibernating insects. Ladybirds in particular…

  • Nestbox Week and Nesting Time!

    Although we're still in winter, some birds are already starting to think about nest sites and nesting. If you've noticed more birdsong over the last few weeks, that's a sign that birds are starting to think about attracting a mate and marking out their territories for nest building. This increase in song can happen from mid-January onwards. 

    As mentioned a few weeks ago in this blog, one of the earliest birds…

  • Big Garden Birdwatch and Song Thrushes

    As the Big Garden Birdwatch rapidly approaches this weekend, we're going to take a look at one of the bird species we can help through the way we look after our gardens. Last time, we took a closer look at the long-tailed tit, a species which has, according to date collected through the decades of the Big Garden Birdwatch, been relatively successful. This time, we're focusing on a bird that has fared dramatically…

  • Big Garden Birdwatch and long tailed tits

    It's not long now until the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch, running from 26-28 January 2024. As the world's largest garden wildlife survey, the Big Garden Birdwatch provides vital information on how different species are faring, giving data on declines and rises in numbers in the 45 years since the survey began. Across the UK, over half a million people took part in Big Garden Birdwatch 2023, counting an…

  • Robins

    This Thursday 21st December is National Robin Day, drawing attention to the challenges faced by robins over the winter. Robins are one of the more successful songbirds at adapting to the challenges of winter and surviving the conditions. They are one of the few birds whose song we hear over midwinter and the Christmas period, with both males and females singing throughout the winter to defend their territories, sometimes…

  • Trees

    This week is National Tree Week, organised by The Tree Council as the UK's largest celebration of trees. Each year, the country's conservation sector, volunteer groups and tree-lovers come together to plant thousands of trees to mark the start of the tree planting season. 

    Trees provide shelter, food and habitat for a huge range of species at all times of year, from blossom for pollinators in spring, to shade and…

  • Hibernation

    As our gardens start to fade into their winter state, it's important to remember that they could become a vital hibernation place for many species over the colder months. Mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects can all use our gardens for winter shelter and protection, so let's see what we can do to aid and assist them at this tricky time of year. 

    Hedgehogs can start to hibernate during November if temperatures…

  • Splendid spiders

    As Halloween approaches, spiders, cobwebs, bats, pumpkins and all things spooky will be taking centre stage! The autumnal months are certainly the best time to spot spiders, as late summer and early autumn are mating season for spiders.

    But how much do you know about the spiders we might find in our homes and gardens? This week we take a closer look at just a couple of the approximately 650 species of spider in the UK…

  • Leaving autumn homes for wildlife

    Traditionally, autumn has often been a time for cutting back, tidying and clearing in our gardens. But resisting the temptation to clear up can be hugely beneficial to our garden wildlife.

    Take perennial flowers for example. Nowadays many gardeners choose to leave dead herbaceous plants and grasses over winter to provide structure to the garden, as well as shelter for wildlife. These can wait to be cut back next spring…

  • Blackcaps in our gardens

    Now that the Autumn equinox has passed and October is fast approaching, it’s time to think about refreshing and refilling the garden bird feeders ready for the colder weather to come. There are many different types of bird feeders – the RSPB has this handy guide if you’re new to garden feeders.

    It’s really important to thoroughly clean any feeders that you used last winter, or that have been out…

  • Bat Night

    This weekend, the Bat Conservation Trust is encouraging us to join in celebrating International Bat Night on the night of 26th-27th August. With the recent warmer weather, and a Bank Holiday weekend, it's the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the wonderful world of bats! They typically begin hibernating from October through to March or April, so the summer months are the best time to see them flying. The first…

  • Marvellous moths

    Now that the sun is finally shining again, it's easy to spot and enjoy lots of butterflies in our gardens, parks and hedgerows. But how often do we pay attention to the just as beautiful and fascinating moths? There are around 2,500 species of moths in the UK, with more establishing every decade following migration from continental Europe. As there are so many species of moths, experts split them into two groups, the…

  • Helping garden wildlife in the summer

    Although temperatures have dipped recently and the rain has been falling steadily, it’s important to consider how we can help wildlife in our gardens should the summer heat up and dry out again. Summer can be a tough time for some of our garden visitors, but with a few simple steps, we can help them get through times of heat and drought.

    The most important and obvious way to help is to provide a fresh and continuous…

  • Butterflies in July

    This week sees the start of Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count, running from Friday 14th July 2023 until Sunday 6th August. During this time, we are asked to watch for butterflies and day flying moths for just 15 minutes in our garden, park or on a walk. The count can be added to Butterfly Conservation's website or app to give valuable data on the state of our nation's butterflies. 

    There has never been…

  • Insect Week

    This is Insect Week, organised by the Royal Entomological Society to celebrate and learn about 'the little things that run the world.' There are over 24,000 insect species in the UK alone, with most gardens and green spaces containing hundreds of species. Insects are immensely helpful to us - many pollinate plants so that they can create fruits for us to eat, and make seeds to grow more plants. Insects are also very important…

  • Stag beetles

    Stag beetles have started to appear again in Flatford Wildlife Garden, so it seems like a good time to take a closer look at these fascinating insects.  

    Stag beetles live most of their long life cycle underground as a larva. The larvae spend between 3 and 7 years underground, munching on rotten wood and building up sufficient energy to emerge and mate when they reach adulthood. During this time, they shed their skin up to…

  • Slow worms

    One of the benefits of No Mow May in my own garden has been to provide a habitat for the slow worm. We were excited to spot one on a sunny May morning, basking in some warmth before sliding off into our long grass. 

    The slow worm is one of the UK's 6 native reptiles, the others being the common lizard, sand lizard, grass snake, adder and smooth snake. Contrary to appearances (and its name!), the slow worm is neither…

  • Busy May!

    It's such a busy time of year in nature and in our gardens. The grass is growing fast, especially after all the recent rain, and it is tempting to cut it back to keep our gardens tidy. However it is not just the grass which is growing - amongst it are countless wildflowers, providing a vital food source for our pollinators. This is why the charity Plantlife is urging us to keep the mowers in the shed for the month…

  • Summer visitors arrive

    It's that exciting time of year when the summer migrant birds start to appear back in the UK. Swallows and house martins have been spotted in the skies above Flatford Wildlife Garden - a true sign that summer is on its way. 

    A summer migrant that we can help in our own gardens is the swift. Sadly, swifts numbers have dropped dramatically in recent years, resulting in swifts being added to the Red UK Conservation Status…

  • Nests

    It's time for Flatford Wildlife Garden to open its gates full time for the season! From Friday 31st March, the garden will be open every day until 31st October, from 10:30-4:30. You will be able to see our new nest box cameras, which should hopefully see plenty of action over the next few weeks. 

    The spring season kicks off with a children's trail for the Easter holidays called Whose Nest? Children will be able…

  • Mother's Day

    Flatford Wildlife Garden will be open this weekend for Mother's Day. You can visit on Saturday 18 or Sunday 19 March between 10:30 and 3:30. While at the garden this weekend, you'll be able to look at the spring flowering bulbs and enjoy the sight and smells of the garden reawkening after the winter. You'll even be able to collect a free daffodil! Then it's just a couple more weeks to wait until the garden opens…

  • Hedgehogs in Spring

    Although we’re currently experiencing a cold snap, spring is not far away. Over the next few weeks, one of the many signs that spring is truly underway will be the re-emergence of hedgehogs from their winter hibernation. During hibernation, major physiological changes take place - the heart rate slows to less than 10 beats per minute, body temperature drops dramatically and breathing slows to the point that a hibernating…

  • Volunteers

    This week we focus on the brilliant volunteers who keep Flatford Wildlife Garden looking so attractive to both wildlife and the visitors. Behind the scenes, a group of about 12 garden volunteers meets once a week throughout the year. The focus is on nurturing plants that have maximum benefit to wildlife, providing shelter, protection and nutrition to wildlife all year round. Planting, weeding, watering, pruning and many…

  • Brilliant Bees

    Although we are still experiencing some cold temperatures and frosty mornings, there are signs that spring is on its way. And for those pollinators that survive the winter, the flowers that we plant in our gardens can be true lifesavers, at this time of year in particular.

    Take bumblebees for example. There are 24 species of bumblebee in the UK. Whilst the rest of the colony (the workers, males and old queens) dies at the…

  • It's time for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch!

    This weekend brings one of the biggest events in the RSPB’s calendar – the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, running from 27-29 January. Every year, around 700000 people take part, making the Birdwatch the largest citizen science survey in the UK.

    The Big Garden Birdwatch is vital in raising the alarm to changes in bird populations. Last time on this blog, we looked at the recorded decline in house sparrows. The…