I do get a little agitated with the comments from some conservationists that gardeners could do a great deal more to aid the plight of wildlife. Whether we aren’t planting the right species in our borders, using too many slug pellets, spraying too much chemical on our veg or having too neat a lawn, the list of complaints keep coming.
The latest, of course, concerns hedgehogs and the view that garden fence panels are stopping these creatures from moving about freely. I have just noticed a little booklet called ‘The Last Hedgehog in Nottinghamshire’ and to tell you the truth I could not even open it up because of the sentimentality of the title so I won’t condemn it just from it’s title.
Back to the hedgehog road blocks. I love reading old country books and my favourites are those by G Bramwell Evans a revered countryman who for years went by the name of Romany Of The BBC. His broadcasts on country matters were as live and based on actual observations of nature in the raw. One of these was about a hedgehog he named Hotchi and he describes how this animal climbed a vertical stone wall rolled up at the top and toppled of the other side using his spines as a suspension mechanism when he hit the ground. He also mentioned that hedgehogs can climb trellis and also trees if they so wish and that’s why they are so hard to keep in an enclosed garden.
This, to me goes against what gardeners are being told now that we are stopping their movements which in turn is helping reduce their numbers. I would also say that a lot more slug pellets were used during the time that hedgehogs were seen in greater numbers and that those pellets were much more lethal than those bought now. I have my own ideas about why hedgehog numbers have reduced so dramatically but that’s another matter. All I ask is that we gardeners are given facts which will then help us make a balanced decision on our garden management. By the way I have just instated a hedgehog box as I am as concerned about their numbers as anyone else.