Leafy habitats and dedicated corners in the garden provide shelter for small animals that need to hibernate uninterrupted and for beneficial insects. If you just pile up a few logs in a quiet, shady spot and you will observe that beetles, spiders and bees will be making a home out of this damp log cabin. Log piles may also be housing slugs and snails, which in turn will attract blackbirds and wood mice looking for a meal, while hedgehogs may also forage for insects and slugs.

While shaping your garden as a shelter for wildlife better avoid being so tidy instead. Areas of long grass and piles of leaves, stones and twigs provide shelter for many beneficial insects and small mammals.

Ladybirds gather in large clusters to overwinter on dead plant stems, particularly in more sheltered parts of the garden. Helping them through winter will mean fewer aphids in late spring, when ladybird larvae begin to eat them.

Nowadays you will find plenty of the varieties of foods available which attract different species of bird to your garden. Robins and blackbirds love plump, juicy mealworms which will provide a good source of protein, fat and valuable moisture.

Some of the specific seed mixes are full of nutritional value and are generally consumed by many species. Straight seeds such as sunflower hearts are the first choice for many birds and black sunflowers are enjoyed by chaffinches, greenfinches, sparrows and tits.

Bird feeders and baths not only help the birds but also encourage them to explore other nooks and crannies in your garden. It is better not to cut hedges until the end of winter as it provides good shelter for birds and give them more time to eat the berries.

In your garden pond, if you have one, put a few clay roof tiles in it to provide cover for overwintering frogs and other aquatic wildlife.

You must know that helping wildlife through the winter months is always beneficial for the insects, birds and other animals and this will help you create a great spring garden.

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