Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Wildlife Friendly Gardens
Following on from my find yesterday (the potential pond) I sat with Caleb last night and we discussed things that we would like to put into the little area of the allotment that we are going to dedicate as our Wildlife Friendly Garden. I know we all need to recognise the value and importance of insects and spiders and the vital role they play in our gardens. Of the millions of species of insects and spiders, only a few are considered pests and yet they are all seen as unwanted visitors. In order to create a wildlife friendly garden it is important to value insects and spiders and work with them to create a balanced environment.
Thinking ahead and looking though our magazines for thoughts and inspiration, we’ve decided on a few things which are going to make up this area. Firstly we are going to create the pond, and then we are going to have a Bugs B‘n’B. I found a little bumblebee house which looks simple enough to do. Caleb is going to make a Hedgehog house and a Toad house from some easy to follow instructions out of our gardening magazines, this will hopefully keep his enthusiasm for the project going. And dare we not forget all those lovely nectar rich friendly flowers.
Insects and spiders perform a huge range of activities beneficial to our gardens. They are an important food source for many other animals such as birds and mammals, fish and amphibians. They also provide products for us in the form of honey and beeswax.
Insects are excellent pollinators and are vital to most of our food crops, flowers, fruit and many other plants. Many insects are predators of garden pests, they are also important for recycling materials from the garden, eliminating waste and keeping our soil in a healthy condition.
Some examples of the many different species of insects that are beneficial in the garden:
• ladybirds eat aphids, scale insects and whitefly
• lacewings also eat aphids and leafhoppers
• ground beetles eat slugs and many different species of garden pests
Do’s and don’ts for insect gardening
If you would like to make your garden more insect-friendly you can use any or all of these features and incorporate them into your own design. To help you get started here are some important do’s and don’ts for insect gardening:
• do plant a variety of flowering plants rich in nectar
• do mix your plants so that those that attract insects such as ladybirds and lacewings are close to plants that experience problems with greenfly
• do plant close together to provide a moist shaded area, an ideal environment for lots of arthropods to thrive in
• do keep your soil healthy by adding compost to provide food for insects
• do provide a source of safe water
• do not use pesticides and insecticides
Just a few of the suggested planting to help and encourage the wildlife:
Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus
Foxglove Digitalis pupurea
Iris Iris pseudacorus
Ivy Hedera helix
Herb Robert Geranium robertianum
Holly Ilex aquifolium
Marsh marigold Caltha palustris
Poppy Papaver rhoeas
Snowdrops Galanthus nivalis
Teasel Dipsacus fullonum
Water forget-me-not Myosotis scorpiodes