RHS – Things to do in December

The long hours of December darkness mean that foraging time is reduced, plants are less productive and the cold is really setting in. Food has become scarce. It’s time to find out whether or not the winter preparations made by our native animals have been sufficient. Some species will be in hibernation by now, but for others December becomes as busy as any other month. Any available food source will be exploited as the struggle for survival sets in. Berries still provide a vital resource for many species, but as supplies dwindle animals will increasingly be attracted into gardens to take advantage of the food laid out for them by people. A well kept garden provides a vital haven for animals at this time of year, and a wonderful array of species will become visible to you.

. Hang bird feeders
. Fill the birdbath and keep it clean and free of ice
. Leave some berries on plants such as holly – they are food for wildlife
. Coppice hazels and coppice or pollard other suitable trees
. Leave perennials un-cut for as long as possible – they provide food and shelter
. Incorporate a few native trees and shrubs into new, more exotic plantings
. Build a compost heap
. Feed badgers and hedgehogs with proprietary feeds, or with tinned dog food (not bread and milk)
. Create overwintering sites for a range of insects, reptiles, amphibians and mammals
. Dig a wildlife pond