Posted: Monday 15 October 2012
Hedgehogs have always been regular visitors to my garden - I'd spot them meandering across the lawn at twilight - but this year I haven’t seen any.
Hedgehogs have always been regular visitors to my garden in the past, but not this year. They’ve never been residents, but I’d see them wandering up and down the road when walking the dog on summer evenings, and hear them scuffling through the back of borders when gardening outside late in the evening. Sometimes I’d spot them meandering across the lawn at twilight, much to the dismay of our dog who would bark from a distance, but rarely risk going too close.
But this year I haven’t seen any. Neither have I noticed many frogs or toads. These usually make their way into my garden from a neighbouring one with a large pond. where I’m sure they breed. Despite the months of rain from April onwards, and a generous supply of slugs to feed on, I’ve hardly noticed a single one. Perhaps the hedgehogs and frogs have more food than they know what to do with closer to
home, so haven’t needed to forage further afield. Or perhaps the snow and cold last winter caused a decline in numbers. I wonder if other gardeners have found the same thing, or is it just me?
I do miss them, which is more than I can say for the ever-increasing numbers of woodpigeons. which leave quite a mess on the lawn, and the squirrels that regularly raid my bird feeders .
Just in case I haven’t been vigilant enough, and my missing friends are still around, I’m currently building piles of sticks and leaves at the back of borders for them to use for winter shelter. These aren’t anything complex, just welcoming homes made from natural materials .
And, as always, as Halloween and Guy Fawkes’ Night draw close, anyone planning to have a bonfire should always restack the heap on the day of the bonfire on a fresh site to ensure no wildlife has crawled in and taken up residence. I prefer composting to burning, so my carefully positioned piles of garden prunings can be left undisturbed. They’re all quite discreet, so I just hope they prove attractive to my elusive friends.