In December it is very tempting to stay out of the garden. Most jobs can wait until the better weather, however one job that won’t wait is looking after the wildlife in your garden.

In winter, we need to provide water for the birds just as much as we do food. The best way to provide water for drinking and bathing is with a bird bath. Any kind of shallow, rough-textured dish is suitable (or indeed one bought from a reputable garden centre) will suffice, and filling it with a couple of inches of water is enough.

The water will obviously freeze at this time of year, so you can either melt it with hot water or try floating a rubber ball in it – the breeze should move it around enough to keep the water from freezing.

Try and keep the water clean, too, as the birds will use this to keep themselves clean, and they need to be clean to preen. Preening is when the birds tidy up their feathers and spread oil from their preen gland over them to keep themselves waterproof and warm.

With regard to food for the birds in your garden, the birds need to build up their fat reserves in the winter to survive the frosty weather, and that is why suet fat balls are ideal.

If you want to attract robins to your garden, which most of us do, then try suet balls, peanuts fruit or meal worms – and if you want them to stay hide an open fronted nest box in your garden.

Or just believe, as my wife does, that robins appear when loved ones are near. Me, I would get a nest box just in case.

Happy gardening and of course a very Merry Christmas to you all. See you next year.