I love growing my garden and I’m aware that I’m not the only beings that enjoy the space and the plants within. I thought I’d learn a bit more about who else is sharing my shrubbery and share it with you.
There are many forms of animals living in your hedge; Insects of all kinds love hedges and you are likely to find bees and butterflies making the best use of your border plants. In towns, foxes love to seek shelter in hedges along with squirrels and hedgehogs and taking time to choose your hedgerow plants can really support the wildlife in your area.
Why have our garden hedges become such popular places for animals to live? Natural habitat destruction plays a vital role and so we have a responsibility to do our bit to maintain the habitational status quo.
Does Wildlife Benefit My Hedge?
The relationship between wildlife and your hedge is a win-win situation most of the time. There are some less than nice critters which like to explore your hedge, but if you have the right plants in your hedge, you will find it will look after itself. For instance, ladybirds love aphids and are happy to help with natural hedge management. Attracting these creatures is a great way to do your bit for the environment, and you will be cutting down on the amount of maintenance you will need to do. Many hedge owners forget about attracting wildlife and end up spending a small fortune in pesticides which will not be appreciated by your hedge in the long run. Even birds love to eat common hedge pests.
How to Attract Hedgerow Wildlife
Most proud hedge owners like to attract wildlife. It is easy to do and you will learn a lot about nature, however it involves more than planting a hedge or leaving a mature hedge to fend for itself. No self-respecting bird will nest in a hedge which is not maintained and does not have the right plants. In fact, looking after your hedge is paramount if you would like to attract wildlife. Common garden birds such as robins, blue tits, and sparrows will only nest in a hedge that is being looked after on a regular basis. When you maintain your hedge, wildlife will find the interior of the hedge easier to access. It will give then shelter from the hot summer sun and the cold of winter.
Insects such as bees and butterflies love a hedge that is being looked after and maintained. Looking after your hedge means it is much more likely to produce flowers, berries, and healthy growth which will go on to feed and nurture all of your winged and furry friends.
What Plants Should I Choose?
There are many plants that are hedgerow wildlife friendly. The best thing you can when you want to attract a plethora of wildlife is to mix and match. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box and ignore some of the most common hedge rules. A mix of flowering and none flowering hedge plants will do wonders when you want to create a hedge wildlife sanctuary in your garden. A good idea would be to plant hedge species as a framework and add others to compliment it. Hawthorn makes a great natural fence for plants like honeysuckle to climb up. Boxwood benefits from companion planting with lavender and rosemary. When it comes to companion planting, the list is pretty endless. Think about your hedge in terms of what it can produce to benefit and attract wildlife into your garden.
Bees and Your Hedge
The bee population in the United States and other parts of the world such as the United Kingdom have suffered serious decline over the last 20 years. The problem is down to a loss of habitat and this is why your hedge is so important to stem this tide. Bees need nectar to produce honey and without access to countryside flowers, they can’t find nectar. The wonderful thing about bees is that they have the ability to produce honey in a variety of flavors. This is why it is crucial your hedge is packed with a range of natural plants which are available in nature. For instance, lavender and rosemary can help to flavour honey, and so can honeysuckle. Planting a mix and match hedge can even ensure the survival of certain native bee species.
When Should You Trim Your Hedge To Support Wildlife?
Different hedging plants will need different care. However, in general, the best time to trim or prune your hedge would be in early Autumn or early Spring. When you trim your hedge in early Autumn, it will give it a chance to grow before the winter sets in. Trimming your hedge in early Spring will ensure a steady growth throughout the spring and summer. Of course, these are the times the wildlife living in your hedge are less likely to turn to it for protection or a food source. But it is not only about trimming and pruning your hedge. Many hedge owners presume it is okay to ignore their hedges throughout the rest of the year when this is the worst thing you can do.
In order to make sure your hedge thrives all of the time, you need to look after it throughout the year. Think about it this way; looking after a hedge is a bit like deadheading roses. Branches can break off and this can lead to disease in the hedge in case they go mouldy. Inspecting your hedge will also give you a chance to make sure you don’t have any nasty critters or fungal disease living in your hedge.
A Hedge Is About Balance
A good quality hedge should be well balanced. Not only should it provide a natural habitat and food source for local wildlife and birds but to you as a gardener, it is important that it looks attractive at the same time. Maybe the best way to look at a hedge is to consider it a work in progress as hedges constantly evolve to suit the needs of your garden. Bearing that in mind, you should consider hedgerow wildlife as part of your responsibility. Make sure you provide the right habitat for them to thrive and carry on doing what they were doing long before your hedge was planted.