Tag Archives: wildlife friendly garden

Bee Friendly Gardens

Bee Friendly Gardens are absolutely vital – read on to see if yours is up to the mark and what to do if it’s not!

 

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“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”  Albert Einstein

 

That’s a scary statement – but it’s pretty much true.

 

So we really need to help maintain the bee populations globally.

Although we can’t quickly influence government policy on the use of pesticides or convince supporters of GM crops and super intensive farming methods to take a more environmentally sensitive view just yet, you can still do your bit to help.

 

The flowers and plants in your garden – how many of them can the bees feed from – easily?

 

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Avoid highly overbred flowers, they are usually sterile and have little or no nectar.

Flowers that are created by plant breeders for human satisfaction rarely (if at all) help feed beneficial insects  in your garden. You might as well fill the garden with plastic flowers – they’re just as useless! 

I planted these this year – red pelargoniums, because they looked pretty…but that’s all they did – look pretty.

Not one insect landed there, fed from them or even noticed them!

 

So what do you need to do:

 

Don’t keep spraying stuff!  – sprays kill everything, it isn’t selective about what it kills. Does it really matter that much, if there are a few holes in petals or leaves? 

 

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Choose flowers that are more natural looking  – so nice open petals and more natural looking colour combinations.

 

Make sure something is in flower all year round – There are lots of flowers that provide food for insects in winter, click here for a list

 

Lastly but most importantly – don’t just regard the garden as an ‘outside room’, think of it also as ‘their home’. You will find you tend to be more tolerant of Nature and you will begin to enjoy the little world you have outside more.

 

Oh and if you don’t believe there is a crisis in the bee population, have a read, I know it is an American article, but much of it is true for here to.

At PlantPlots, we chose all the plants we use in our border designs carefully, we try to use plants that are not only lower maintenance and fairly disease resistant, but that are also good sources of nectar. So it’s a win win, you get beautiful border designs and the insects will love coming to visit to.

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We’ve more articles to read to; All on creating a more insect friendly and bio-diverse garden.

How ‘Green’ are Bedding Plants?

Who are flowers really for?

Which Flowers are best for bees,

Gardens are for Life, not just for Show

What about the Bugs?

Hedgehogs and why you need one

Why help hedgehogs?

 

Despite the fact they adorably cute and have been on this planet for about 20 million years, we’ve lost a third of our hedgehogs over the last 10 years.

It seems likely from long-running surveys that there are fewer than a million hedgehogs left in the UK.

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If that isn’t reason enough, hedgehogs actually play a vital part in the UK ecosystem, occupying an important part of the food chain. They mostly eat invertebrates, such as slugs, caterpillars, millipedes, and a range of other creepy crawlies. The more they decline, the more the ecosystem and food chains are disrupted, which is bad for all involved.

 

And as far as us gardeners are concerned, having hedgehogs in your garden is like having your very own pest controllers. Hedgehogs are far more efficient bug hunters than we ever could be!

 

So how do I encourage hedgehogs?

 

There are a few simple and easy things you can put in your garden that will help encourage hedgehogs. These suggestions are from Hedgehog Street and the Hedgehog Preservation Society, charities that are both working hard to conserve our hedgehogs.

 

Link your garden.

 

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According to research, Hedgehogs can travel a mile every night on their search for food or mates. With the increasing urbanisation of the countryside, hedgehogs are finding it hard to move from one garden to the next thanks to secure fences and walls.

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Give your hedgehogs treat & revamp your garden this year…they’d love it!

This is why it’s important to create hedgehog holes were possible, by either:

removing a brick from the bottom of a wall
cutting a small hole in your fence the size of a CD
or digging a channel underneath your fence or gate
swapping fences for hedges, which can also help birds and bees.

Some fencing companies are now supplying ready made fencing with hedgehog holes...so helping open up the gardens couldn’t be easier.

Log piles.

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These are one of the best features you can create when encouraging wildlife in your garden. Not only do they attract and produce insects as the wood rots down, making a hedgehog buffet, they can also provide a safe place for breeding and hibernating. You can either collect any wood you cut from your garden, or ask a local park, landscaper, or tree surgeon. Place the logs in an undisturbed corner of your garden and replenish with newer logs every now and again.

 

Open compost heaps.

 

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Again, these are great sources for insects and invertebrates, but just be careful when you come to turn the pile with a garden fork, in case you’ve attracted any hedgehogs. Oh and they don’t have to be perfectly tidy either, just accessible.

 

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Revamp your garden, dig up those borders – the hedgehogs will love slug hunting in them

Leaf piles.

 

These not only provide good sites for nesting and hibernating, but also good bedding material for other nesting sites and hedgehog boxes in the local area. It’s helpful to think of your garden as part of a local network, rather than a home for one population of hedgehogs. Again, be careful when clearing away, in case you find a sleeping hedgehog.

 

Wildflower patches and overgrowth.

Now this is a good one, not only do you get a hedgehog friendly area – you don’t have to do so much gardening!

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Leaving one corner of your garden untrimmed and overgrown can help both insects to thrive all year-round, as well as providing nesting and hibernation sites for hedgehogs. Wildflower patches can also attract more wildlife such as caterpillars and other insects hedgehogs can eat.

 

Pop in a Pond.

 

While you may think ponds are dangerous to hedgehogs, hogs are actually very good swimmers. A pond provides them with a year-round water supply, and also a place where insects, frogs, and even lizards can thrive, which means more food for the hedgehog. Just ensure the ponds have gently sloping edges so any hedgehogs can escape.

 

Have a Hedgehog house.

 

You may as well go the whole hog (pardon the pun) and build a specially made hedgehog house. There is a range of designs and styles of houses you can build, and a house will really help a hedgehog breed, nest, and hibernate. Hedgehog Street has a fantastic guide to building hog houses.

 

Gardens are lifelines for our wildlife, so by us being a little more wildlife aware and maybe a little less worried about everything looking perfect, to coin a well known phrase. ‘every little helps’, just think how much ‘help’ we could all create together!

 

Let’s change the law too!

We’ve set up a petition also, simple easy solutions are usually the best. We want to change planning law so all new house builds need to incorporate a run of hedgehog holes in the garden boundaries. Just think all those thousands of housing developments have acres and acres of gardens that our hedgehogs could safely forage in.

 

It’s a cheap simple win:win situation,  you get a fantastic bug hunter for free and you will help conserve our hedgehogs.

 

P.S – sadly we didnt get enough signatures to change the law, but you know what Have a hedgehog hole anyway…

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