This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
FOCUS: Autumn’s Bounty by Teresa Verney-Brookes of www.rspb.org.uk


I always have mixed feelings at this time of year as I miss the long summer nights watching the bats swooping over my small garden in Reading - but also love nature’s autumnal bounty. The hedgerows start brimming with berries, trees and plants are laden with nuts and seeds and mushrooms appear in the damp grass of a morning.


As the swifts, sand martins and swallows (which have been gathering on telephone wires for many weeks now) have already embarked on their amazing migratory journey of over 5,000 miles back to various parts of Africa for the winter – we welcome other birds such as Redwings and Fieldfares back to Britain - which arrive ready to feast on our autumn bounty.


92 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2012


For anyone who isn’t an ‘over-keen’ gardener – I am here to help at this time of year AND in the process, afford you some well earned ‘green credentials’ too. As usual, I am going to say – “make sure that you don’t over tidy your gardens. Instead, try and leave areas for wildlife to shelter and hibernate in over the cold winter months ahead”. Also don’t, under any circumstances, be tempted to attack your garden head-on just because you want to use those flowery handled shears that you bought in last years sales!


Try to leave cutting back bushes and shrubs until the spring – as hollow stems provide fantastic habitats for many insects to over winter in and their dead seed heads provide a welcome source of food for birds.


If you really ‘must’ use those new shears, you can use some of your cuttings to make artificial insect homes. I take the lids of baked bean tins, ask my children to decorate them (using double sided sticky tape and natural, autumnal coloured items from the garden) and then fill them full of stems and cuttings. We hang them around the garden and/ or give them away as presents! My daughter also puts a ‘To Let’ sign on them for added effect!!!


Collect fallen leaves and make them into piles in dark, hidden areas of the garden - such as behind or even under the shed. This will not only provide a great place for mini- beasts to hide but also an ideal place for frogs, newts or hedgehogs to hibernate. Last year we lined a cardboard box with a black bin liner


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