Garden Wildlife in July

Many of us gardeners love supporting the wildlife in our gardens as much as tending our plants.

 

In our July monthly wildlife guide, in collaboration with the experts at Wildlife World, we highlight what creatures to look out for in your garden this month and how best to offer support for a thriving ecosystem.


Bees

In July, some bee species beginning nesting – solitary leafcutter bees will start nesting in boxes and bumblebees build up their colonies in boxes. You may notice a drop in visibility of honeybees this month after their spring and early summer activity.

How you can help

  • Have a range of plants enjoyed by bees in mid to late summer, such as aster, delphinium, digitalis (foxgloves), geraniums, heather, lavender and salvia. 
  • Install a bee box to create a home for nesting solitary bees
  • Create ground-based nesting habitats with piles of logs with different width holes in 

Read more: The Best Plants for Bees


Bats

Bats are most active in the summer when they come out of hibernation. If you are lucky, on July evenings as the sun sets bats can be seen performing flying acrobats in their hunt for insects. 

How you can help

A garden teeming with plant life will naturally attract insects which in turn may attract larger mammals such as bats. A garden with wilder patches, like log piles, will also be more attractive to insects. 

Read more: Encouraging Bats into Your Garden 


Birds

In July, as the ground gets harder it gets more difficult for birds to source worms so competition for food sources gets more intense. They also have a real need for extra water to stay hydrated and maintain a cool body temperature. Some birds may still be nesting, so be wary of this when planning any pruning. 

Towards the end of the month, you may experience a decline in bird numbers, generally timed with the increase in wild berries available elsewhere or as they disappear to moult. 

How you can help

  • Continue to feed regularly. A high protein feed like Hillier Sunflowers Hearts is a good choice. 
  • Keep bird baths clean and top up regularly
  • Avoid excessive pruning of hedges as they are still a source of shelter

Read more: Caring for Garden Birds All Year Round  


Butterflies

As the weather warms, our summer butterfly species can be seen in gardens and July is often a peak month. Big Butterfly Count begins in July, running through to August. Join in and help record the state of our nation’s species – butterflies you are most likely to spot include Brimstone, Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady, Large White, Common Blue and Speckled Wood. 

How you can help

  • Have plenty of flowers in the garden that offer a mid to late summer nectar source for butterflies – buddleja, dahlias, Erysimum, geraniums, lavender, roses and Verbena bonariensis for example
  • Position your plants where possible in a sunny sheltered location. A window box on a balcony is fine if that’s all the space you have available
  • Take part in the Big Butterfly Count 

Read more: What to Plant to Attract Butterflies  


Frogs & Toads

In July, tadpoles continue to metamorphosise into young frogs and toads. At this stage, they leave the pond to look for new habitats and food sources.  

How you can help

  • If you have a pond, make sure it stays well topped up during hot weather spells
  • Look out for very small frogs and toads. While you can’t protect them from natural predators, you can at least protect them from humans! 


Hedgehogs

July is the middle of the breeding season for UK hedgehogs, with hoglets predominantly born in June and July.  Nests need to be left in peace at this time as a disturbed female hedgehog may abandon her babies. 

How you can help

  • Leave a source of food and clean water for hedgehogs foraging in the evening
  • Create wild areas in the garden with longer grass, log piles etc. Don’t disturb these in July in case a hedgehog is nesting in them

Read more: How to Create a Hedgehog Friendly Garden 


Find a range of plants for wildlife, specialist wildlife feed and habitats at Hillier Garden Centres