When all is quiet and peaceful in The Storey Gardens, the people have gone and the trees are lit only by the moon and stars, you might hear a scrunch of leaves and some strange noises in the darkness.
From a forgotten corner, Holly Hedgehog and the hoglets will emerge from their daytime hiding place to busy themselves in the borders, linger on the grassy areas or snuffle among the shrubs. They walk around both gardens in their quest for food, feasting on earthworms, beetles, caterpillars, slugs and apples. Rotting fruit is a good place to find tasty millipedes and earwigs.
Holly looked after the hoglets in the nest for four weeks and only has two weeks to teach them how to forage before they leave home. You won’t see Holly or any Hoglets around the gardens during the day. You might, however, spot their dark cylindrical droppings full of beetle carcasses around the garden and mistake them for black slugs.
As the autumn turns colder, Holly will eat as much as she can, then make a winter nest. She finds a quiet place in the garden under brambles or log piles and brings leaves in her mouth to make a shelter from the cold and rain. She will hibernate there until the spring arrives but may wake up and go out for food if the sun warms her nest. If one of the gardeners disturbs her nest, she will be very annoyed and have to find a new place to build another one.
In the Storey Gardens we help Holly and other hedgehogs by letting the fallen leaves remain at the back of the borders and place logs behind the bushes. We have log piles and hidden areas with brambles and sticks. Remember not to be too tidy in your garden and leave gaps in walls and fences so hedgehogs can roam freely.
Click on the apple below to see a video clip of a hedgehog recorded in the Storey Gardens on the night of 4 June 2023. Could this be Holly?
Elaine Cook, Sweden for the concept and the drawings of Holly and the apples.
Friends of the Storey Gardens volunteers for the text and pen and ink drawings.
Technical information obtained from Pat Morris, Hedgehogs, Revised Edition, Whittet Books Ltd, 1994.
The Bay – A Blueprint for Recovery (a nature and wellbeing programme) for the hedgehog video clip taken with a Bushnell Nature View CAMHD remote wildlife camera.