Around my garden

Friday, 19 December 2014

Wildlife in winter

During the winter months, as gardeners, we offer supplementary food and water for the birds visiting our gardens.  We provide boxes for birds to roost in during the colder months.  We leave log piles and compost heaps so hedgehogs have a secure spot to hibernate, along with mounds of leaves and other decaying matter which gives insects shelter and food at this time of the year.  A healthy garden has a wide range of wildlife, some good, some bad and some we are completely indifferent towards.  

It's often the creatures we don't regularly see at this time of the year that tend to be forgotten.  Here in the UK and I am sure it will be the same where ever in this world you are if you garden in a temperate climate , a few species of moths and butterflies will over winter as adults in the safety of our evergreen plants or even in our sheds and homes.  Evergreen trees, shrubs and plants are considered the backbone of the winter garden, providing interest and structure around the garden, however, to these Lepidopterans, they are vital for their survival.  So while you are out gathering greenery, hacking at the holly or infiltrating the Ivy - these evergreens, Ivy in particular - be vigilant and spare them a thought.   Your leafy table display - is their safety haven.

Species that overwinter, here in the UK, as dormant adults include the butterflies Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma and moths such as the Twenty-plume Moth, Red-green Carpet, Tissue, Sword-grass, Herald and Bloxworth Snout.  If you come across a dormant moth or butterfly, providing it is in a dry sheltered spot, please leave it where it is.

Adult peacock butterfly in my garden winter 2012

Aglais io (European Peacock Butterfly)
summer 2012