March is full of promise! With spring bulbs beginning to peek out from under their soil duvets and a growing buzz of life in the air, there is so much to look forward to this month.
In cooperation with Vivara, I’ve put together a guide to some of the wildlife that you can spot, the gardening jobs you can do, and the plants that you can install in your garden in March in the UK. This will hopefully help you make the most out of the wildlife in your area and help it thrive!
Wildlife to look out for in March
Dark Edged Bee Fly (Bombylius major)
This friendly insect looks a lot like a regular bumblebee, but with a few differences. It’s covered in yellow/brown hair, and has dark markings on its wings. It also has longer legs and a longer proboscis (the ‘tongue’ it uses to suck nectar from flowers) – if you’re close enough to catch a glimpse!
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Look out for this small, olive-coloured bird from the warbler family as it flits delicately between trees and shrubs. It has dark legs and a pale circle around its eye – but it’s really known for its beautiful song. This agile bird weighs just 10 grams, and can pluck insects out of the air while in flight.
Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris)
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with newts, then you should look out for the smooth newt at this time of year. It hangs around ponds, grassland and woodland, and you’ll be able to distinguish it for its grey-brown colouring, orange belly and black spots.
Wildlife jobs to do in March
Original Giant Fat Ball on a Rope, £3.45, Vivara
Feed birds calorie rich foods
March can still be very cold, and you may even encounter a frost or two if the temperature’s cold enough. If frosts are still occurring, birds may have trouble finding food. To help them out, place high energy food – such as fat balls, sunflower hearts and suet pellets – in bird feeders. This will provide birds with the energy they need to breed.
Leave out food for hedgehogs
You might notice an influx in hedgehogs in March, as they’re coming out of hibernation from this month onwards. Greet them with some fresh water and a bowl of food specially designed for hedgehogs. Just like birds, hedgehogs need this energy to breed. Just make sure to put out food in the evening and discard any uneaten food in the morning. This will help discourage rats.
Gather lawn clippings to encourage slow worms
Slow worms can be a rare sight in gardens in the UK these days, but if you’re in an area where slow worms thrive, you can encourage them into your garden by collecting lawn clippings into a pile and leaving them to dry. The slow worms may create a nest there!
Wildlife plants for March
By now, you might have noticed some early tulips popping out of the ground, and Tulip sylvestris (otherwise known as wild tulip) may be one of them! This is a yellow flowered variety which has a soft scent of lemons! Its pointed petals sit high up on 25cm stems, and will flower until late April. Ideal for early pollinators.
These buxom blooms will be filling beds and patio pots by now! Orientalis is a purple, pink or white-bloomed Hyacinth that comes alive from late March to early April. While short-lived, they provide a boost of nectar for bees and pollinating insects.
Iris Katharine Hodgkin
This beautiful, soft-hued iris is just a dwarf, coming in at 12cm in height. However, its creamy white and blue flowers are larger than other dwarf irises – and bees adore them. Irises can be toxic to cats, dogs and humans, so opt for another plant if you’re aiming for a pet or child-friendly garden.
Take a look at Vivara’s wide selection plants for wildlife here.
What are you doing to help the wildlife in your garden this March? Let me know in the comments below!