Summer gardening tips from Vine House Farm

© Tom Marshall

Wildlife gardens are bursting with life this time of year – but there is still plenty you can do to level up your garden for wildlife! Our friends at Vine House Farm Bird Foods have some great tips below.

Wildlife gardens across the UK are brimming with life, from young newts and larvae in our garden ponds to the welcome return of our summer migrants, swallow and house martin! But don’t sit back and relax just yet – there it still so much you can do for wildlife in your garden this summer!

Provide live food for chicks in the nest and the fledglings after they emerge

Unfortunately the numbers of insects have seriously declined in recent decades which has had an impact on once common songbird species. One significant thing you can do at this time of year is to provide live mealworms in your garden, which will be readily taken by blackbirds, house sparrows, robins, most species of tit and starlings, with the adults feeding them to young in their nests and to the fledglings after they emerge.

Taking this action can directly improve the breeding success of the birds in your garden and surrounding area, and if you haven’t fed live mealworms before then here’s a guide from Vine House Farm on everything you need to know. 

We also have lots of general guidance on feeding birds in your garden including information about feeders, bird baths and food types here

By buying your bird food from Vine House Farm, you'll also be supporting your Wildlife Trust!

Great tit (Parus major) taking mealworm from person's hand, Wales, UK - Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

Have clean water at ground level

Most wildlife gardens will already have a bird bath, but we mustn’t forget our friends at ground level, especially hedgehogs! The first young of the season emerge in June so having water at ground level is so important to keep little hoglets hydrated! We have already seen some very dry and warm spells this year, having easily accessible water for small mammals could prove to be a life-saver during warm days. Providing water for our prinkly friends couldn’t be easier – any shallow dish will do! Whatever you use, make sure the water is regularly changed and kept clean.

We have lots of handy tips on how best to provide water for wildlife here!

Two hedgehogs caught on a camera trap

Hedgehogs ©Stuart Edmunds

Install a hedgehog highway

Hedgehogs have declined by a staggering 50% in the last decade alone! But there are easy steps you can do to make your garden more hedgehog friendly. Hedgehogs have a feeding range of around 10-20 square hectares, but garden fences can make it difficult for them to travel as much as they’d like.

Help them get around by making holes and access points in fences and barriers to link up the gardens in your neighbourhood. It is easy and is a sure fire way to welcome hedgehogs into your garden. We’ve got all the information you need to get started right here!

Hedgehog highway

Let your lawn grow!

There is an easy way to level up your garden for wildlife this summer – let the lawn grow! You’d be amazed at what wonderful flowers pop up and in turn what wildlife will arrive. Although typically considered a ‘weed’, dandelions are powerhouses for wildlife! They offer a great pollen pit stop for bees and the globe of seeds offer a tasty snack for goldfinches! Consider either setting the blades of your mower to their highest point or just leave the lawn until the autumn.

A longer lawn also has a host of other benefits including providing habitats for invertebrates (perfect for feeding your resident hedgehog!) and greater moisture retention, giving you a lush green grass all summer!

Growing a wild patch is easy, read our top tips here!

Green-veined White on Common Dandelion

Green-veined White on Dandelion ©Katrina Martin/2020VISION

We hope you enjoy trying some of these wildlife gardening tips - and hope that your garden proves to be a true wildlife haven!

Buy your bird food

Vine House Farm shop

Gillian Day

More ways to help wildlife

Actions for wildlife

Tom Marshall