It’s wildlife month here at QVC, so I thought I’d devote this month’s article to nature and how to attract more of it into your garden. I’ll be telling you about some of my own experiences with animals, whether wild or pets!
What was your first pet? Mine was a hamster called Sandy who didn’t actually live for long, but he was soon replaced by another one called Dusty I believe…
I remember how they used to enjoy running around the room in a hamster ball – crazy little things. I was quite responsible and always topped up the water and made sure they had enough food. My mum also had some tropical fish, but I wasn’t that interested in those…!
I was gardening with my grandparents from a young age, as you already know. They didn’t have any pets per se, but they did have a tortoise, which had escaped from somewhere locally – God knows where. Apparently it just walked down the road one day, so they took it in and gave it shelter. He was called Fred, and he would eat runner bean leaves, and hibernate all through the winter.
After my grandparents had inspired me to start gardening, I soon set my sights on a patch of ground in my parents garden. One of the first things I constructed was actually a small wildlife pond, complete with liner and everything.
I went to the trouble of buying aquatic plants, too! Of course, some of the first inhabitants of the pond were tadpoles. They are great for getting kids accustomed to nature . I probably remember a few frogs sitting at home too.
The ritual in my grandparent’s garden was not only to water the plants early and care for them, but also to top up the bird-feeders and water sources. I have vivid memories of super chilly days, wearing fingerless gloves and breaking up the ice in the bird bath so the birds could get a drink…
My interest in birds grew during those days at my grandparents. I remember spending most Sunday mornings pouring over the RSPB British Birds book. We’d spot some of those birds in our own garden, but I also saw lots when we went to an RSPB nature reserve on a school trip.
I was fascinated by the housemartins that were living in the side of the cliffs. Until then, I’d imagined that every bird had a nest in a tree.
My grandmother was a great bird spotter. In fact, she even named my dad Robin, because it was the first bird she saw on the day he was born. Everybody is thankful she didn’t see a sparrow first!
Back when my grandparents were feeding the birds, the range of bird food was a lot more limited. Much of it on the market was mostly filler, and it certainly didn’t have the kaleidoscope of colours I now see with the newer mixes.
On QVC during January, our Product of the Month is Richard Jackson’s new formula of bird food. This is suitable for feeding the birds all year round, and the variation of ingredients means that most common birds in the garden will be catered for. As there is no filler, there’s also no mess – the birds devour every piece!
Another nifty invention coming up is a special offer in the first week of January – the Nutpecker Birdfeeders. These may look like innocent jars of peanut butter, but that’s where the similarities end. This is a very special mixture of seeds and suet, excellent for giving the birds energy during the winter.
It’s easy to hang in place, thanks to the integrated holder, and it also gives smaller, hungry birds priority access. The bigger birds can often look after themselves!
I’ve also been out filming various videos to help you choose the best locations for feeding the wildlife and giving them homes. You’ll find these on the front page of the gardening section of the QVC website.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a line, leave a comment below or reach out to me on social media.
And that’s it from me. Happy wildlife month everyone!