Late flowering plants are essential sources of nectar for insects including butterflies and bees who are still foraging at this time of the year. Martyn Loach suggests five plants that will make your garden wildlife friendly into the autumn.
Last week Nathan James Dodd blogged about National Nest Box Week, a project run by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) that aims to provide secure spaces for breeding birds across the UK.
The event encourages everyone to put up nest boxes in their local area, in order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our breeding birds and wildlife.There's a selection of nest boxes you can purchase, designed to attract various animals, birds and insects.
The Wildlife World Hedgehog and Mammal House is a shelter for our spiny friends who do such a good job hoovering up unwanted snails. There's a 'breathable' interior so, unlike in my house, there's no condensation problems. The large inspection hatch means easy cleaning and it's raised off the ground to prevent rotting. It's predator resistant and has as a safe feeding 'lounge'.
The same company's Hedgehog House is made from acacia for good insulation. A 12ins tunnel leads to the house that has a waterproof sea grass roof, hinged for looking inside and cleaning.
And they have a third house for hedgehogs and small mammals that's insulated, weatherproofed and with a raised floor. Again there's a hinged door for inspection and cleaning purposes.
Frogs and toads are also garden friends to be encouraged. The Wildlife World Frog and Toad House is an overwintering location and safe retreat. It's constructed from various woods, one chamber is a cool sanctuary open to the soil, the other has a timber floor with separate access and provides drier accommodation.
Bats are not everyone's cup of tea but they are fascinating animals and you can encourage them with a study oak Bat Box. There's an access ladder and hinged front door providing access.
Insects will be delighted with their choice of accommodation. They can check into the Butterfly and Moth Habitat that Small Tortoiseshells, Commas and Peacocks will find safe when overwintering. Thoughtfully it has a sponge that can be charged with sugar water, for feeding, or a butterfly attractant to gain their attention.
Ladybirds and Lacewings, who find aphids an irresistible meal, can be encouraged by the Ladybird Log where they can overwinter or retreat to in the summer. There's also the Ladybird and Insect Tower, both this and the Log have central chambers that can be filled with straw or bark to provide insulation and safety.
The Beneficial Insect Box and Bug Box 2000 have various sized tubes to provide homes for Mason and Leafcutter bees who are excellent pollinators and other garden good guys. Both should be hung in a sheltered position in the garden or on a wall.
Non-swarming bees, who increasingly find it difficult to settle down in our tidy gardens, will also love to move into the Solitary Bee Hive.
Birds are also well catered for with the quirky teapot nester, just the right size for a Robin. There's another nest box convincingly disguised as a post box, this would certainly make an unusual gift for a twitcher and the no frills Gardman version that can be discreetly placed and does what it says on the tin or should that be the box.
Many people believe that Christmas would not have the same festive feel without the scent of a 'real' Christmas tree. They're naturally fresh, giving off a lovely aroma, and here Martyn Loach gives advice on which ones to buy..
There's a huge selection of Premier Christmas Lights, and it's no wonder why they are market leaders judging by the variety and innovation that's on offer. This is Andy Taylor's guide to their range of top quality lights and decorations.
When purchasing a Christmas tree, you may or may not be aware that you're continuing a centuries old tradition that was enthusiastically adopted by the Victorians. An artificial tree as Andy Taylor explains is just a modern take on this age old practice.
In the past Christmas decorations were limited to streamers and fairy lights, but not any more as Robert Hall discovered when reviewing the huge range of novelty Christmas items that are brought to life by LEDs.