With all signs of frost behind us, save for the most northern parts of the British Isles, we can enjoy all that the height of spring has to offer. The warmth of May heralds a wealth of wildlife sightings, as well as beneficial weeds and plants!
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 May 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 May
Lime hawk moth
This beautifully patterned moth is a relatively large moth, with a wingspan averaging between 4-8cm. You can identify it by the green patches on its wings, which also have a scalloped edge to aid camouflage.
The lime hawk moth flits around during warm nights from May to June, feeding on the leaves of lime, silver birch and elm trees. You’ll spot them in woodlands and grasslands, but also in urban gardens.
These adorable critters will be coming out of hibernation at this time of year, and will be on the lookout for bramble, hawthorn and honeysuckle shrubs to get their nutrient fix.
The hazel dormouse is endangered, and spotting one is quite rare as they are small (weighing just 40g at their heaviest) and agile creatures. However, by planting hedgerows and shrubs, we can create better environments for the dormouse and other animals to thrive.
No, it’s not another generation of Amazon’s popular smart doorbell. The ring ouzel is a bird in the thrush family that can be identified by its all-black body, bar the white crescent across its chest.
Generally, they’re found in upland areas of Scotland, northern England and north west Wales. However, during their spring and autumn migration, they can often be spotted on the east and south coasts of the UK where they hang out in short grassy areas.
Wildlife jobs to do in May
Avoid trimming hedges
If you can, you should avoid trimming hedges until the beginning of autumn to help protect any animals that are using the hedges as their habitat. However, if you have to, use hand tools instead of power tools to cause as little disturbance as possible.
Clean up any spillages around bird feeders
If you’re topping up your feeders regularly, you’ll probably find a few seeds that have fallen out of the feeder and onto the floor around it – birds aren’t the neatest eaters! It’s important to be diligent and regularly clear up leftover food around the feeders with a dustpan and brush, as leaving it can encourage the spread of diseases. Mealworms, especially, should be picked up and discarded, as these can be very dangerous for hedgehogs.
Create a dead wood habitat
Dead wood habitats can be created using branches, logs and other untreated wood to house insects – usually the creepy crawly kind (centipedes, woodlouses, etc). These insects are beneficial for your garden, as they feed on pests such as slugs.
Wildlife plants for May
Wisteria Amethyst Falls
This breathtaking climber will be just about ready to bloom at this time of year, with its fragrant, pea-like flowers. Growing up to 5m tall and 3m wide, it’s an ideal wildlife plant for providing shelter for insects, and even birds (if dense enough).
Not just any old allium, this variety produces enormous flower heads that flower during early-to-mid-summer. Not only do these flowers make a big impact in the garden, they’re also attractive to pollinating insects.
Perfect for shady areas of the garden, Dicentra spectabilis (also known as bleeding heart) will provide a flash of pink colour throughout spring and summer. Its heart-shaped flowers provide nectar for bees and other pollinating insects – but be careful if you have kids or pets, as this plant is very toxic if ingested.
Take a look at Vivara’s wide selection plants for wildlife here.
What are you doing to help the wildlife in your garden this May? Let me know in the comments below!