The times are changing along with the seasons. This year, the English bluebells flowered a month late. Nature needs a helping hand in a place near you. Flying, crawling or slithering critters need shelter and sustenance.
If you'd love to see more wildlife in your garden, clever choices for your borders and herb patches can give nature a helping hand. Create safe area for wildlife away from human influences—leave part of your garden untouched, with good access to other gardens or wild spaces. By making space for the critters you can provide for the whole food chain, without the need to dig into your pocket. An undisturbed pile of logs makes an excellent hideaway for an incredible number of insects which in turn can attract birds and mammals.
A strip of land divides our garden from the grassy field alongside stables. Long ago, foresighted individuals planted apple trees forty feet apart along this narrow section. Brambles and grasses have filled in the space. Bees are hovering over the flowers at the moment. I look forward to picking blackberries. There will be plenty to share with the birds and wild life.
But if you prefer a more orderly garden, you can still provide additional food and shelter for creatures large and small with a good mix of plants.
Trees give birds somewhere to nest and can provide fruit for foxes, badgers and even deer
Hedgerows, much used in England to divide fields, growing native plants such as holly, provide essential cover and corridors that join up green spaces for small mammals
A range of shrubs that flower at different times will improve the diversity of visitors to your garden
Longer grass is essential for egg-laying insects such as butterflies, so leave a bit of lawn untrimmed
Taller flowers will attract flying friends from bees to dragonflies
Night-scented plants such as buddleia and evening primrose are great for moths which in turn are a feast for bats
Wall climbers can provide links between gardens for pollinators
Make a calm haven in coastal gardens with trellis and evergreens to act as a windbreak
Don't forget your water feature: ponds are essential for amphibians and offer a bath and beverage for birds
Compost heaps are a warm home to reptiles as well as a great source of nutrients for your garden
Top ten plants every wildlife gardener should consider for their patch are: sunflowers, foxgloves, thyme, lavender, honeysuckle, rowan, ice plant, firethorn, barberry and purple loosestrife.
A GARDEN ALTAR
I sit quietly beneath the sunshade
Watching all the life around me parade
Hoverflies sip sweet nectar as they please
Snapdragons shut their lips tight behind bees.
Butterflies weave in and out amongst plants
That my delighted eyes placed to enhance
The riot of colour and smell planted
A garden altar to heaven granted.
It's so amazing that we can achieve
A result so perfect when we perceive
The concept of so many things to grow
Reliant on our desire to flow.
At last in sunshine shown to perfection
Living plants laid out for eyes detection
From nowhere, insects feast in the reward
Their inter-action cannot be ignored.
And soon the song birds are tempted lower
From the neighbourhood, cats watch and glower
Feathers strewn about like angel's traces
And spiders weave webs around their places.
No matter what first jolts your intention
All of nature weaves it's own invention
Can't judge the victor between good and bad
Sunshine lifts my spirits, I can't be sad.
© Francene Stanley
We share this world with every living thing. Let's make a garden altar—reliant on our desire to flow.