Phew! While we are wilting in this hot weather, so too are many of our garden plants and wildlife visitors. It’s a time to postpone some of our planned gardening activities and prioritise offering essential hydration to those in need in the garden.

  Greenfinch bathing: Mark Hamblin (

It can be quite an eye opener as you look around your own garden through a heatwave to see which plants seem unaffected, it may because they are more established, have deeper roots or are just happy in drier conditions. Other plants that were previously flourishing may have suddenly flopped or are showing signs of sun or general hot weather damage.

Usually, the plant will bounce back if the roots go down deep enough so a big drink in the evening can be all that’s needed. If a few petals look frazzled or leaves look brown, trim them off and offer a good water and perhaps feed in the evening. Even if you think an entire plant is completely damaged, with a good prune and continuous care, it could still bounce back. It could be a good idea to mulch to give it extra protection.

Mulching and weeding definitely help the garden through heatwaves and droughts and if your water-butts are now empty, try showering over a bucket or saving your bath water for the garden, a little bit of shower gel or bath foam in the used water won’t be a problem for the plants.

Keep bird baths and small ponds topped up as a vital water source for all garden wildlife including birds, insects and mammals. If you don’t have these already, any sort of heavy shallow dish of fresh (not bath) water will be greatly appreciated, even a bucket or bowl or tub filled with water can provide an essential drinking oasis for wildlife; if it has steep sides, place some bricks, stones or wood in and out of one side so that creatures can climb out if they fall in.

Hopefully with a bit of extra care, you will see your plants recovering and thriving and perhaps a variety of visitors to your watering holes!

The Flatford Wildlife Garden currently remains closed but re-opening details will be posted in advance on this blog and the main Flatford webpage. The Flatford team continue to encourage wildlife through their own gardening projects and very much look forward to sharing wildlife gardening experiences with you when we reopen.