Monday, 8 January 2007

Our prickly friends.

One of the most difficult decisions facing any wildlife gardener is whether or not to use slug pellets to control the seemingly superabundance of slugs and snails and thus prevent them from gorging themselves on the fruit, vegetables and flowers in the garden. But, with the help of the colony of frogs and some friendly hedgehogs, the problem solves itself.

During that first summer, when we were clearing the weeds and laying out the shape of the garden, we noticed that two hedgehogs were out and about around 11pm each evening, snuffling about for slugs, beetles and worms. That was when we decided to befriend them and leave out some cat food and a saucer of milk each night at the back door.

There was a nearby wood where we thought they most likely had their home. However, the next Autumn, when we were cutting back the long spent flower stems, we came across an empty nest. It had been made by the hedgehogs, using the long stems of the crocosmia plant. It was shaped like a rugby ball and the bottom half was under the ground. We were very excited at the prospect of hedgehogs making their own nest in the garden, as living in harmony with nature was the main purpose of making our garden for wildlife.

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