Although the gates of the Wildlife Garden are now closed to regular visitors, winter is a busy time for the garden's team. Caroline, the garden's manager, gives us some festive news as the snow was falling in the recent cold spell.
'By mid-winter, when all fruits and nuts have been removed by birds and squirrels or fallen and collected by smaller animals, it is time to prune and lay hedges and to coppice small trees and shrubs such as hazel, and willow.
The view of the Museum's Waterhouse building from the Wildlife Garden's frozen pond
'The cut wood is used for making woven fences around the meadow. We will also be planting small hawthorn and blackthorn shrubs (whips), to thicken up our new hedges.
'When the ground is freezing we retreat indoors (to our shed-come-office below) to input data of species recorded during the previous year.
'Observations last summer included this colourful longhorn beetle Rutpela maculata (below left) photographed by one of our visitors, Mark Mansfield, in the garden’s meadow, during Open Garden Squares Weekend in June.
'Other new insect sightings in the Wildlife Garden last year included the small copper butterfly Lycaena phlaeas and 5 moth species, including Elachista obliquella which hasn't been previously recorded elsewhere in Middlesex.
'In November, the Wildlife Garden was awarded the Princess Alice Countess of Athlone Award for the Environment by the Brighter Kensington and Chelsea Scheme.
'The gates to the garden will open again in April. In the meantime, the garden is open by arrangement, and if you would like a winter visit please enquire at the Information desk inside the Museum. As you can see from the footprints in the snow pictured above, there is still wildlife activity even on the most wintry days!'