THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Hedgehogs are a rarely seen animal in your garden…
… but recently at my parents place the dog was outside and, despite calling, refused to come in. Shoes went on and the outside light was switched on in order to see what the heck was so damn interesting to that dog.
It was a hedgehog, possibly the first one she had ever seen. And the first one I remember in this garden in about 20 years. The last one was a big event too, as my parents had just rescued an enormous German Shepherd that had been found on the streets of London, and it found itself facing up to this little spiky ball and could not, in all the world, work out what it was or what it should do with it. Interesting times trying to explain that one…
What can you do for hedgehogs in your garden?
- Give them access to the garden. They roam 1-2 km each night during their active (busy?) season. Make sure they have the corridors to do so, and to visit as many garden environments as they possibly can.
- Create a ramp in your pond so that they can get in and out easily. They are great swimmers but can’t clamber out of steep-sided canyons… a bit of chicken wire, or stones, help them immensely.
- Give them nesting spaces – that means a little wild, overgrown patch in your garden would be a perfect candidate to leave standing over winter.
- Don’t litter. This is important – why would you litter anyway? The hedgehogs can get caught up in it. We try to reduce the packaging we use when you buy from us in our shop – check out the fantastic, bio-degradable soap packaging from Modern Mint – and this all adds up to helping the world we live in.
- Feed the hedgehogs – meaty dog or cat food will help supplement their natural diet, as will mealworms or chopped up, unsalted peanuts. A bowl of water is a great idea too.
- Don’t use chemical herbicides, insecticides, pesticides or slug pellets. The toxic nature of these treatments reduces the food population for the hedgehog.
- Check before strimming – a friend caught a hedgehog once while strimming with a metal blade, completely unpleasant. We dug it a small grave and buried it. We felt terrible. This happened 15 years ago and I still remember it…
- Bonfire heap ready to burn? That bonfire heap that has sat there building up is a fantastically good looking property to nest in for a hedgehog – so move the pile on the day you are to burn it and rebuild somewhere else. It means you will find any hedgehogs that thought they had found a good spot to relax in.
- Build a logpile – rotting wood is fantastic for all sorts of creatures and makes a fab home for a hedgehog.
Helping hedgehogs in a nutshell:
Manage your garden in a way that provides lots of creepy crawlies to eat and wild spaces for them to nest in. Be careful you don’t disturb them when in the garden and don’t poison your healthy environment with toxins.
For more on hedgehogs (and we learnt all of this when we met these lovely folk recently) visit Hedgehog Street – and help hedgehogs today!
Guanock House needs a trainee topiary artist! Some of you may know it as the first home and garden of designer Arne Maynard, but is now owned and maintained by Michael Coleman and his wife Michelle. They offer meditation workshops and retreats there and it is as beautiful a house and garden as you could wish to visit. They called me in last Autumn to help shape up some of the topiary as it was all getting out of hand, but what it really needs is someone with a steady hand and lots of patience to take over the clipping …
Here are some photos of work I have been doing at the garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent. Snow and ice brings out the depth of the different planes and angles carved into the boxwood. A garden has to look beautiful in winter – and topiary (green architecture) helps do that! For more topiary pictures, click here.
How To Use Topiary In The Garden is my new talk, which I first gave last year via Zoom for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society. Returning to Zoom again, there are two dates available to see and hear the talk: March 16th – Book your ticket here April 6th – Book your ticket here The talk is great fun, perfect for keen gardeners or people who want to know how to improve their garden with hedges and architectural plants. How To Use Topiary In The Garden looks at how to move away from the idea topiary is twee or old-fashioned, …