Wildlife in the garden…mostly insects!

The garden should not be a space to simply grow flowers for the house or food for the table. Our garden is also a haven for many different kinds of wild things of the many legged and many winged(in some cases) variety.

Anyone can do some simple things to encourage these visitors to our gardens and I am sure you will find that the number of harmful pests is reduced thanks to the house guests you are hosting.

a)I have made nests for ladybirds and bees by tying a bundle of hollow Queen Anne’s Lace stems together and placing in the  corner of the log edging of beds.

b) Allowing some sticks and stones to lie about under plants allows insects such as slaters and slug eating centipedes to hide from the fierce heat and rain. These in turn help in breaking down old leaves and add to the fertility of the soil.

c) Plant roses, fruiting vines such as passion fruit and other climbers against walls or fences. As well as scenting the garden and providing fruit these make ideal nesting habitats.

d) Put up bird feeders. Everyone wins – you enjoy birds and the birds get a good feed.

e) Get rid of as many chemicals as you can. Even if used in small amounts, their manufacture and disposal cause problems

f) Put off the autumn cutting back of perennials until early spring. Wildlife will love the seed heads and hiding places, and you will benefit from their beauty. Don’t worry about ”perfection”. The most beautiful gardens aren’t sterile or manicured – they are dynamic, alive and just like a landscape in nature.

bee

One of the native bees makes a visit late in February to the sunflowers that came up when we emptied the bird’s food tray onto a garden bed by mistake!

wolf spider

A wolf spider has made its home in an empty pot which is filled with soil in expectation of vegetables. It is a nocturnal hunter with a painful bite but seems willing to let my phone and my hand get to within four inches of it.

crab spider

A little crab spider trying hard to look exactly like the seed heads on the blue cornflowers! It is in the middle of the photo.

Christmas beetle

The first really hot day took a toll on all the insects in the garden. We found 8 of these shiny beetles dead in various parts of the beds.

tussock moth

A caterpillar of the White Tussock Moth sitting on a geranium leaf.

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