Making Space for Nature Blog
October 2023 - Blog post by Dawn O'Malley
As we head into autumn and the wildflowers come to an end, the wildlife friendly garden at St Saviours Church may not look very exciting, but it is a haven for sheltering wildlife. Deadwood piles act as refuge for amphibians and invertebrates, the bog garden and raised pond provide water, the buried wood hopefully harbouring many larvae such as magnificent stag beetle, the bird boxes offer roosting space and the hedgehog boxes nestled in the hedgerows around the grounds provide hibernation spaces. The 'Making Space for Nature' group enjoyed a lovely sunny afternoon, welcoming community members to the grounds for a spot of eco therapy, planting bulbs, spreading wildflower seed and cutting back brambles. We are looking forward to see the snowdrops and native daffodils poke through next spring!
No matter how small your garden is, some grassy patches left unmown in your lawn can soon provide habitats for wildlife. Pollinators will visit the new flowers , bees love clover, seeding grasses and dandelion provide food for sparrows and goldfinches. Butterflies and moths may breed in the long grass and hedgehogs, frogs, toads and newts may use it to find food and shelter from predators. You may only have room for one patch, but you can make a lovely feature of these varying shapes or strips, contrasting against the short grass. Check that the patch will be quite quiet and enjoy observing these patches, take note of new species, and do send photos via our website or Facebook.
If you don’t have a lawn, why not plant pots with lovely pollinating flowers, such as Cosmos, Salvia and Geranium or herbs. Marjoram, thyme, chives and lavender are all great plants for pollinators. And if you are growing vegetables in pots, grow french marigolds and nasturtiums as companion plants. They will attract bees and other pollinators plus predators like ladybirds, hoverflies and lacewings that eat the pests that would otherwise eat your crops. Finally they are good at attracting predators like slugs and blackfly away from your vegetables.
You can also take part in Every Flower Counts, an exciting survey to monitor our lawns here in the UK. They aim to assess trends over time, and see whether we can manage our lawns differently to increase the National Nectar Score. Will climate change have an impact on flowering and nectar production? What are the most abundant flowers and what can we do to encourage them.
If you are interested in taking part in this exciting and simple survey go to: plantlife.org.uk/everyflowercounts
We also offer free garden consultations for your nature friendly garden.