THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Oct01

How To Help Hedgehogs In Your Garden

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Give them nesting spaces – that means a little wild, overgrown patch in your garden would be a perfect candidate to leave standing over winter.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Don’t use chemical herbicides, insecticides, pesticides or slug pellets. The toxic nature of these treatments reduces the food population for the hedgehog.
  7. 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…
  8. 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.
  9. 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!

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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