Give wildlife a helping hand

GARDENERS can lend a helping hand to make the perfect love nests this Valentine’s Day.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust says that by providing shelter, food and wildlife corridors, gardeners can create the ideal conditions for wild species to come together and make the next generation.

Head of Conservation Steve Lowe said: “As mating season approaches, species from blue tits to butterflies are about to get busy building nests and laying eggs, and with many species looking to hook up and settle down, this is a great time of year to offer some hospitality.

“With just a few changes, everyone can make their gardens wildlife-friendly. Contrary to what some people think, you don’t have to let your garden grow wild.

“Feeding birds, careful placement of nesting boxes and planting pollinator-friendly plants are easy, straight-forward things to do that make an enormous difference.”

Tips to encourage wildlife mating include putting up nest boxes, ideally out of the reach of predators, and leaving untidy patches in the garden to attract the insects and grubs that feed chicks, making a hole in the garden fence for hedgehogs and amphibians to get through when they search for mates, digging a hole and half-burying a terracotta pot upside down, with a small hole in the top and dry moss or grass inside, to make a bumblebee nest, and planting holly and ivy where holly blue butterflies lay their eggs.