Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are very cute and cuddly but did you know that their numbers are going down rapidly? Read this guide to see how you can help hedgehogs.

A hedgehog has between 5000 and 7000 quills so why can’t they fend for themselves? It’s because we are bigger, and faster, and stronger. So yeah. Also, hedgehogs can’t see very well so they have to smell and hear their way out of a situation. 

“A hedgehog has between 5000 and 7000 quills”

In the autumn try not to step on big mounds of leaves because a hedgehog might be hibernating in one. They are extremely adaptable so one might be living in your garden!

Guess what… Hedgehogs weren’t always called Hedgehogs! They used to be called Urchins which led to the naming of Sea Urchins! Also… If a hedgehog smells or tastes something really strong, it will attempt to cover itself in foamy saliva, much like a cat cleaning itself!  

How you can help

  1. You can build a hedgehog house in your garden

2. If you know there is a hedgehog living in your garden and you want to help feed it leave it dog/cat food not milk as it damages their digestion system.

If you want to find out more about hedgehogs visit https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/

By Mia Hunt  

Mid Sussex Community Garden

Mid Sussex Community Garden has lots of exciting goals so if you love the great outdoors and want to help your community thrive please join us at our site in Cuckfield.  Things have been developing rapidly since spring 2020. We are a partnership between the community, Warden Park secondary school (the site) and the Sussex Learning Trust. We have fantastic support from UK Tree Action and the Woodland Trust who donated 350 diverse native saplings which were planted in last November by lots of enthusiastic volunteers.   The project is self funded and we recently had a very successful crowdfunder.

So far we have levelled off the site, created raised beds ready for the school children to start growing plants, cleared masses of brambles and debris and built an additional shed.  A poly tunnel and pond liner will arrive shortly, and a new greenhouse is in situ.   By the end of April, 120 hedging plants from the Woodland Trust will be delivered.   Water is piped in from large water butts.

A native species woodland and wildlife pond are planned, and one third of the site will be a fruit orchard with a wildflower meadow growing through it.  Being   passionate about enabling nature to thrive we intend to install hedgehog houses, bat boxes, bird boxes and large bug hotels, and hope to connect with re-wilding projects.

Pauline Sutherland who is training with the RHS says the project is “an ideal way to give back to the community, create inspiring learning spaces as well as to prioritise nature which is so important”.  

Our mission is to ensure the space is easily accessible, safe and welcoming for all ages and abilities. We want people to simply come and enjoy, grow food and plants and to volunteer their time and energy.   A large wooden cabin will also be built as an additional learning space for the school to use in the day, as well as offer the community another space for wellbeing, gardening and environmental learning. We are off grid and energy will be supplied by solar, toilets will be compostable.    

If you would like to join us please see our FB page Mid Sussex Community Garden https://www.facebook.com/groups/355617022278239/?ref=share

Or mscommunitygarden@yahoo.com

by Catherine Edminson

Bud Burst

On the first really warm day of spring this year I saw my earliest butterfly of the year – always a heart warmer after the long winter (an especially long winter this year). It was a brimstone butterfly, a large, pale yellowy green butterfly – I think it was a male as females are lighter in colour. Brimstones are often the first butterflies seen as they can spend the winter hibernating, tucking themselves into tangles of bramble or ivy (makes sense in our garden as we have a lot of both!) in sheltered sunny places and emerging when the sun warms them enough.

Just a few minutes later a bumblebee dive bombed by, being chased by my father’s dog who thankfully, for both their sakes, didn’t manage to catch her. Female or queen bumblebees are another native insect which overwinter. In late autumn they dig holes in chilly north facing banks to avoid being warmed up by any winter sun and emerging too soon. There are many bumblebee species in this country (24 according to a quick Google), but this one didn’t stop long enough for an ID check.

These insect flybys were just one of many clues that spring has sprung. Snow drops have already finished their bright white show by the beginning of March; crocus, daffodils, aconites and wood anemones close on their heels. The blackthorn bushes – a very common sight on the sides of Sussex roads – burst into beautiful white blossom. If pollinated these flowers will become sloes later in the year. If you look around a wood in early March the buds are bulging, just waiting to burst and fill the canopy with fresh green again.

The birds too, are clearly in the throws of spring, frantically collecting nesting materials and singing for mates.

We have recently moved and are lucky enough to have a lovely garden which backs onto farmland. Although clearly once much loved, our new garden is currently overgrown, full of bramble and bindweed, great for wildlife but not so fab for a gardener perhaps. Saying this – as I spend hours meticulously digging bindweed roots out – I will, most definitely be making room for wildlife in our garden plans. My children have started their wildlife pond design and I will take heed of Monty Don’s advice and leave some areas of lawn long – it will be interesting to see what weed species crop up. I love spring.

by Nicola Brewerton