Frances Tophill shares ‘incredibly easy’ way to create habitat for newts in your garden

Frances Tophill shares ‘incredibly easy’ way to create habitat for newts in your garden


Alan Titchmarsh advises on how to spot a good rose bush

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On tonight’s episode of Love Your Garden, Alan Titchmarsh and his team take on a massive challenge, transforming a half-finished garden into a wildlife wonderland. Alan was joined by David Domoney and Frances Tophill to transform the garden of local hero fundraiser Pete Hill in West Bromwich. Pete’s Dad Joe, who died seven years ago, had started to create the garden with a giant wildlife pond meant as a home for newts and a feature waterfall.

During the transformation, Frances helped to create a place for newts to hibernate.

She said: “A place where newts hibernate is called a hibernaculum and it’s incredibly easy to make.

“Essentially, I’ve dug out quite a wide – about a metre and a bit – hole, 50cm or so deep.”

Frances used sticks, old bricks and moss for the newts to hide among and keep warm and safe.

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The sticks and moss will rot down and create dampness because amphibians need a damp environment.

Frances said encouraging amphibians into the garden has a plethora of benefits.

She said: “Amphibians – frogs, newts and toads – are really important to have in your garden as part of the ecosystem.

“You’ll find that the frogs will eat a lot of your slugs, lots of aphids will be eaten by them, which is always a bonus when you’re a gardener.”

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The gardening expert finished of the hibernaculum by covering it gently with soil.

The habitat has to be covered gently otherwise all the soil can fall in.

For those with a small garden, gardeners could create something similar in an old wooden vegetable box.

Just make sure there is a plastic pipe or similar for access.

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Frances also created a “prehistoric reptile jungle” using a dead wood stump.

The area she put the stump is in shade for most of the day.

Woodlice, beetles, fungi and bacteria all make their homes in dead wood.

“Dead wood is a really important habitat to have in the garden,” she added.

The team added in a raised seating area so people could have a view of the new habitat.

Frances also added ferns which she described as “beautiful and architectural” plants.

Ferns like shady conditions which means they’re perfect for putting next to fences or below trees.

Love Your Garden is available to stream on ITV Player

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