Dig It - January Tips From The Secret Gardener

Snowy Gnomes

There isn’t much that you can do in the garden for butterflies and moths at the moment as they will mainly be sheltering in a dormant state. However, it is a good time to look back at the year and assess which plants thrived, flowered well and were attractive to butterflies, moths and other pollinators.

If you are desperate to get out in the garden doing practical things, then the birds would be very grateful for your help.

Bird populations, like butterflies and moths, are a great indicator of the health of the countryside and with the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch survey about to get underway, it is the perfect time to find out what species visit your garden and how you can help them.

Woodpecker on bird feederAll you need to do is spend an hour over the weekend of 24-25 January counting what you see and registering your results on the RSPB website.

Around half a million people took part last year, with seven million birds counted. For the first time ever, the Great Spotted Woodpecker made it in to the top 20 birds seen in gardens, with the House Sparrow taking the number one spot, closely followed by the Blue Tit.

The birds you will see can vary depending on where you live, what food you use and where your food is placed, but on the RSPB's website you can find tips on what seed mix to use, different types of bird tables and even a guide to making your own bird feeder. You can also see photos and listen to the birdsong of each of the different species you are likely to encounter.

The results of the Big Garden Birdwatch, much like our Big Butterfly Count, create a ‘snapshot’ of bird numbers in each region and help paint a bigger picture of what's happening to UK populations, allowing the RSPB to spot any species in trouble and to target their conservation efforts where it is needed.

Happy Birding!

The Secret Gardener