• Earthworms.

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

    • 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
  • Bonfire Night 5th November.

    If you're a fan of fireworks on bonfire night, of course there won't be any big gatherings and spectacular displays this year so you may be thinking of having a little celebration at home.

      David Broadbent (rspb-images.com)

    Although we could all do with a lift and a bit of fun at the moment, do spare a thought for not only frightening pets, but also your garden wildlife. Mammals may flee the loud noises and run…

    • 4 Nov 2020
  • Sunday 1st November- last open day at the Wildlife Garden + Bats!

    More rain!! We don't need it but that's nature for us ... and it's a bit of a shame as it's a rather wet weekend for our last weekend open at the garden today 31st October and tomorrow 1st November.

      Robin: Nigel Blake (rspb-images.com)

    Our volunteers have been working hard through it all and we will still be there, the birds will be there and our flowering autumnal plants and colourful trees will still be there…

    • 31 Oct 2020
  • Shrubs for Garden Wildlife.

    Shrubs are plants that produce several woody stems above the ground at the centre of the plant and often grow to become medium / large quite structured shapes of up to 3 metres tall. Unlike annuals and perennials in the border that virtually disappear in winter, they provide size and structure in a garden even through the winter months with their woody skeletal shapes or evergreen leaves.

       Blue-tit sitting in Hawthorn. Oliver…

    • 23 Oct 2020
  • Flowering October.

    With all this rain, we may not have spent so much time out in our gardens recently but nature is still forging ahead and plants are still flowering!

              Photo's from the Flatford Wildlife Garden: Shirley Sampson.

    The Bishop of Llandaff dahlia is lighting up the borders at Flatford, not just with its vibrant colour but also with bees still searching for nectar which is in short supply at the moment.

    Most solitary bees…

    • 16 Oct 2020
  • Hibernation contemplation.

    October is the time when many of our garden wildlife species start preparing for hibernation including hedgehogsamphibiansbees, bats and butterflies.

      Hedgehog: Kevin Sawford (rspb-images.com)

    There are many things we gardeners can do to help our garden wildlife survive the winter. We can offer the right kind of supplementary food and keep feeding stations clean and well stocked!  Even when there's plenty of rain, clean drinking…

    • 10 Oct 2020
  • The Garden re-opens tomorrow! - 1st October 2020.

    Our Flatford Wildlife Garden is re-opening tomorrow: Thursday 1st October after months of closure! 

      Autumn leaves at Flatford Wildlife Garden: Nancy Brown

    The weather looks mixed on Thursday 1st Oct with sunshine and showers forecast in Flatford throughout the day. Please bring appropriate clothing and brollies with you as visitors will unfortunately not be permitted in the barn at present due to government guidelines. It will…

    • 30 Sep 2020
  • Flatford Wildlife Garden to re-open on 1st October.

    We are excited to be sharing the news that the Flatford Wildlife Garden will be re-opening again on Thursday 1st October.    Entrance to Flatford Wildlife Garden. Nancy Brown.

    The garden will be open every day from 10.30am-4pm right through October up to and including Sunday 1st November.

    Parking is available at the Flatford National Trust car park at a charge of £5 per car per day and entry to our wildlife garden just a…

    • 23 Sep 2020