Welcome to part eight of our series on little green fingers. Are you enjoying the garden with the children over the summer holidays? Do you know if you have hedgehogs in your garden? Did you know that choosing the right plants, shrubs and hedges could help save hedgehogs where you live?
Hedgehogs are in decline according to Hedgehog Street, a joint initiative led by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, with numbers reduced by around a third in the last 10 years alone – You can make a real difference to the prickly population in your area by planting hedgehog-friendly hedging.
Hedge growers and suppliers Best4hedging has launched a ‘Hedges for Hogs’ campaign as the school holidays get underway, to advise gardeners on the best plants for hedgehogs and to alert homeowners to the animal’s plight, as many families turn their attention to the garden during the summer months.
Gareth James, Nursery Manager at Best4Hedging, says: “Just picking the right plants can make a big difference to your local hedgehogs. We’re urging everyone to think about what they plant this summer, and especially to consider replacing restrictive fencing with hedging. You could have the best hedgehog habitat in your garden, but as many modern houses are enclosed by fencing hedgehogs just can’t get in.
“Now’s the time to help. Hedgehogs need our assistance with food and shelter sources now so they’re ready for hibernation later in the year.”
Gareth adds: “We’re promoting all of the native species of hedges which hogs love this month such as Blackthorn, Dogwood and Hawthorn, as well as providing tips and advice on how to help hedgehogs in your garden to our customers.
“Even if replacing fencing, or part of it, with hedging and plants isn’t feasible, just cutting a small hole in your fence will help as you’ll open your garden up to hedgehogs. Helping the hedgehogs is an activity everyone can get involved in whilst the children are off school – it’s free, it’s fun and gives great satisfaction when you welcome your first prickly visitor.”
Fay Vass, CEO of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, says: “As the name implies, hedgehogs love to hog hedges! Hedgerows provide ideal locations for hedgehog nesting sites as well as shelter for them to move safely from place to place. People can help hedgehogs by planting a mix of native, British-grown hedging trees or shrubs in their garden, which provide useful sources of food and shelter for the species as well as many other creatures such as insects, bats and birds.”
For more advice on choosing the best hedgehog hedging, visit Best4Hedging’s blog.
For child-friendly hedgehog-helping activities, including becoming a Hedgehog Champion, visit Hedgehog Street – a campaign created by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species to encourage hedgehog conservation action at a neighbourhood level.
We have made a start on this by leaving out food and water for any passing hedgehogs. The children have really enjoyed this and even the younger children are able to get involved. We don’t think that we have had any visitors as yet but we will post an update when we do.