• The Flatford Wildlife Garden is Open!

    The garden is open again today from 10am - 4.30pm!

    We are so excited to be welcoming visitors back to our very special place. The volunteer team have done a fantastic job of taking care of essential tasks throughout the last difficult year but of course nature is the star.

    Please come and see us at our wildlife garden in Flatford, Essex for inspiration and advice on all things wildlife gardening and enjoy the beauty and…

    • 12 Apr 2021
  • Spring flowers for Bees and Pollinators.

    Has your garden started buzzing?

      Dotted Bee Fly: Nick Upton (rspb-images.com)

    It's just fantastic to see the bees and butterflies coming back, bringing our gardens to life as they search for early nectar rich plants that are available in spring. Favourites include: crocuses, cowslips, hellebores, spring blossomprimrosespulmonarias and there are so many more. See the RHS’s top ten plants for pollinators, all with the…

    • 10 Apr 2021
  • How to identify garden bird eggs.

    The garden bird nesting season really gets going through April. Early birds such as crows, rooks and long tailed tits may begin building their nests in February and Blackbirds can begin laying eggs in March. Officially the nesting season is from February through to August although most birds are laying eggs through spring so from anytime now, you may begin to find broken egg shells in the garden and be curious as to which bird…

    • 3 Apr 2021
  • British summertime and Sunflowers!

    It really feels like we've turned a corner by changing the clocks to British Summertime. Lighter evenings and spring and summer to come plus the tree blossom and plants really starting to sprout is a real lift for everyone and especially the keen gardener. So with more light and sunshine to come, my thoughts turned to sunflowers! One of the biggest and brightest flowers in the garden; they're fast growing, bold and fun…

    • 28 Mar 2021
  • Flatford Wildlife Garden to re-open this year on 12th April 2021.

    We are thrilled to announce that our re-opening date this spring is scheduled to be Monday 12th April 2021. 

     Flatford Wildlife Garden: Sue Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    This is in line with stage 2 of the government's roadmap to ease lockdown when "Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing…

    • 23 Mar 2021
  • The "No dig" gardening method.

    Gardener's World returned to our screens last night; Friday 19th March at 8pm on BBC2 with Episode 1 for 2021. Hooray! Time to get inspired by Monty and the team for the spring and summer ahead. One particular feature on the show demonstrated Sue Kent creating a No Dig plot on her allotment.

      Mole: David Tipling (rspb-images.com)

    Charles Dowding has been an advocate for the No Dig method since the early 80's. He champions…

    • 20 Mar 2021
  • Hedgehogs waking up from hibernation in March and April.

    March and April are the months when hedgehogs wake up from their winter hibernation. They will of course be feeling hungry after months of only living on their fat reserves.   Hedgehog: Kevin Sawford (rspb-images.com)

    You can help by putting put a shallow dish of water out and some meaty cat or dog food or some cat biscuits. If you don’t want the cats and dogs to eat it, a plastic box with a hedgehog sized hole cut into it…

    • 13 Mar 2021
  • Earthworms.

    They’re not the most exciting or beautiful garden creatures, nor the ones we want to spend much time with but they are valuable and fascinating creatures.

      Common Earthworm: Sue Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    Although earthworms famously have both male and female reproductive organs, they don't reproduce alone, they mate with another worm. They grip their bodies together with microscopic bristles and join onto each other…

    • 6 Mar 2021
  • A wildlife friendly spring tidy up in the garden.

    Even though we want to encourage wildlife into our gardens, we are allowed to have a tidy up, it’s just the way we go about it.   David Broadbent (rspb-images.com)

    If like me, you’ve pretty much abandoned your garden over the winter, there are brown collapsing skeletons of dead plants, leaves, twigs and a general an untidy mess all over the garden. … and I’m ready for a tidy!

    I’ve found that the main…

    • 1 Mar 2021
  • National Nest Box week 14th - 21st February.

    This weekend is the end of National Nest Box week, the perfect excuse to put up a new nest box or repair/ clean out / move an old, uninhabited one.

      Blue Tit in Nest Box: David Tipling (rspb-images.com)

    It began in 1997 to encourage people to put up nest boxes to help compensate for the declining natural suitable spaces for birds to nest.  Not only are trees and hedgerows being cleared, but new buildings have become so secure…

    • 20 Feb 2021
  • Loving the garden and nature this Valentine's day.

    Sunday 14th: Valentine’s day is the perfect day to find out a little more about the love life of our local wildlife with some intriguing sound recordings from the secretive Bittern and nocturnal Nightjars.

     Woodpigeon: Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    Interestingly, some of our male garden birds including Chaffinches and Robins display their brightest plumage at this time of the year to attract a female ready for the mating…

    • 13 Feb 2021
  • Snowdrops and February Gardening.

    Are snowdrops beneficial to wildlife?

      Snowdrop: Craig Churchill (rspb-images.com)

    Well, they don’t depend on pollinators to multiply as there are so few (if any) around when they bloom through January and February. They propagate themselves by seed and growing tiny new "bulblets" on the established bulbs.  The clumps get bigger and they are easy to divide to create even more plants. If the sun comes out at the…

    • 7 Feb 2021
  • The Sparrowhawk

    The Sparrowhawk is the antagonist of the Big Garden Birdwatch, the very bird we do not really want to see in our gardens over this weekend!

     Sparrowhawk: Richard Brooks (rspb-images.com)

    Their natural habitat is woodland but of course this top predator visits gardens  for hunting opportunities.

    Although spotting the swoop and hunt of a sparrowhawk can be exhilarating, witnessing a kill can be a bit distressing at times. It…

    • 30 Jan 2021
  • Big Garden Birdwatch 2021 from tomorrow Friday 29th Jan!

    It’s time for this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch starting Friday 29thJan. The event of the year for many garden birdwatching enthusiasts!

       Blue Tits on Fatballs feeder: Richard Packwood (rspb-images.com)

    If you’re thinking about what kind of food to put out, there are tips here on what birds eat and some very helpful pointers on different ways to feed birds.

    This is where you can print your own colour garden…

    • 28 Jan 2021
  • How long do garden birds live?

    On average, our common garden birds  live between 2 -5 years. Favourite species that we regularly see may indeed be returning visitors for a few years to our well stocked bird table!

         Blue Tit: Richard Bowler (rspb-images.com) & Long Tailed Tit: Malcolm Hunt (rspb-images.com)

    Looking at the UK top ten garden birds for 2020, these are the average life spans given by the British Trust of Ornithology:

    Sparrow:      3 years with breeding…

    • 24 Jan 2021
  • The importance of keeping bird feeders clean.

    With our bird food mounting up to encourage birds for the Big Garden Birdwatch and the cold wet weather, it’s easy to forget about the importance of bird feeder cleaning.

      Greenfinches: Richard Packwood (rspb-images.com)

    It’s the least enjoyable part of bird feeding but unfortunately, neglected food, wet conditions and bird droppings are the perfect environment for mould, mildew and bacteria to quickly develop.…

    • 16 Jan 2021
  • Get ready for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2021

    2021 is the 42nd annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

    It started in 1979 as an idea for activity for children to do in winter. The RSPB expected a few hundred participants but when the idea featured on Blue Peter, more than 34,000 children submitted results! Now of course, it’s not just for children, it’s for everyone including the most experienced ornithologists.

    In recent years, over half a million people have been…

    • 10 Jan 2021
  • New Year, old Christmas tree!

    Thoughts will soon be turning (if they haven’t already!) to disposal of this year’s old Christmas Tree… and there are many ways that it can be put to good use, especially for your garden and it’s wildlife.

       Goldcrest: Steve Round (rspb-images.com)

    Shake off and collect up the pine needles to use as a mulch for acid loving plants, they will appreciate the needle nutrients as they decompose. Branc…

    • 1 Jan 2021
  • Holly for Christmas, and wildlife!

    One of our favourite festive, decorative plants is also a favourite with wildlife in the garden.

     Blue-tit on Holly: Richard Bowler (rspb-images.com)

    Holly is beneficial to bees, caterpillars, moths as well as providing a great nesting environment for garden birds. It’s red berries are food for a variety of birds including blackbirds, mistle thrushes fieldfares as well as garden mice. The dried leaf litter on the ground…

    • 25 Dec 2020
  • Winter solstice and UK Owls.

    With Monday 21st December being the winter solstice and the shortest day, my thoughts have turned to our nocturnal wildlife and in particular our beautiful UK Owls.   Tawny Owl: Richard Brooks (rspb-images.com)

    The UK’s top 3 species in terms of numbers are the Tawny Owl estimated at 50,000 breeding pairs, the Little Owl: 5-6,000 pairs and the Barn Owl: approximately 4,000 pairs.

    Interestingly, the colour of an owl’s eyes…

    • 20 Dec 2020
  • Fresh clean water for birds through winter.

    Although many garden bird watching fans provide bird food through the winter, fresh, clean water is just as vital for bird’s survival through the cold.

     House Sparrow:: Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    Birds need to keep their feathers in good condition through preening, splashing and bathing in water so that the tiny contour feathers, close to the body can be fluffed up to create a layer of warm air. That’s why some birds…

    • 10 Dec 2020
  • Robins and Cards.

    The robin is one of the first icons that comes to mind when we think of the natural world and Christmas; and why is this?

       European Robin Erithacus rubecula, perched in hawthorn berries. Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    The popular theory is that postmen of Victorian Britain in the early 1900’s wore red and were soon nicknamed robins. The robin’s breast is of course orange but the bird was named “robin redbreast” years before…

    • 4 Dec 2020
  • National Tree Week Sat 28th - 6th December 2020.

    Starting this Saturday 28th Nov is the Uk's National Tree Week; a celebration and appreciation of British Trees and a drive to get planting through the winter season.

      English Oak: Oliver Smart (rspb-images.com)

    It began in 1975 as an incentive to replant British trees after the devastation of Dutch Elm Disease.

    Trees give us so much joy; to sit beneath, to sit on, to study, admire... their size, lifecycle, age and beauty…

    • 26 Nov 2020
  • Spring Bulbs... it's not too late!

    It’s not too late to plant spring bulbs in November.  

      RobinRay Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    Although many shops may have sold out of their stock having had them on sale since perhaps August, there are many varieties available online. November is still a good month to get them into the ground, especially as the temperature at the moment remains mild for the time of year.

    Flowering spring bulbs are a welcome source of early…

    • 18 Nov 2020
  • All about Ivy.

    Most established gardens have Ivy growing somewhere, and depending on how much of it you have, where it is and it’s habit will depend on whether you view it as friend or foe. To some it’s an invasive nuisance and to others, it’s one of the best evergreen plants in the garden.

    From a wildlife point of view, Ivy is important as an invaluable source of food and shelter for a large number of insects, pollinators…

    • 11 Nov 2020