Counting on …day 1.113

17th May 2023

Yorkshire Rewilding comments “Whether you have a patio, an allotment, a grand estate or oodles of passion, you CAN make a difference. Rewilding works at every scale. The real power lies in joining the dots — connecting the places and people working towards a common goal: a Yorkshire teeming with life at every level.”

The same is true for other areas. Here in Richmond parks and various streams and rivers, including the Thames forms a network of green spaces and green corridors which favours biodiversity. Richmond is also an area with plenty of gardens and allotments and they too could be areas for re-wilding and nature positive cultivation. The London Wildlife Trust writes “There are over three million gardens in Greater London – 3,267,174 to be precise. That’s an area of 37,942.09 hectares*. In the face of climate change and habitat fragmentation, this massive expanse of green space has enormous untapped potential for both people and wildlife. However, worrying research by London Wildlife Trust shows that London’s gardens are changing from green to grey.”

They also have plenty of practical suggestions –

Counting on … day 1.115

9th May 2023

This week is National Hedgerow Week. Hedgerows can be an excellent space where biodiversity thrives – both in terms of the range of plants that can be found there, and in terms of the number of birds, insects and small mammals that benefit from its ecosystem. Hedges can also serve as wild life corridors linking areas of rich biodiversity. Sadly many  hedgers have been lost as increasing industrialisation of farming has led to the use of larger  pieces of machinery (ploughs, sprayers, harvesters) which can only be used in large fields – ie combined smaller fields where the hedges have been removed. 

Since gardens too can be home to hedges, I was particularly attracted to the idea of creating a hedge using home grown plants – a long term project which will see a hedge replace a row of raspberries reaching the end of their fruitful lifespan. And the National Hedgrewo Week website provides just the information for doing this –

Counting on … day 1:035

4th February 2023

Even without wilding your garden, be a green gardener. Avoid the use of pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers. Don’t cut the grass too short especially when dry weather is likely. Opt for hand rather than power tools – and keep fit. Set up and use a compost heap. Veer away from using plastics – plant pots, lawn edgings, etc. Install a water butt (there are few choices here other than plastic). Avoid concrete and other hard surfaces and opt for surfaces that allow water to drain and the earth to breath.

See also

 Counting on … day 306

11th September 2022

Autumn is the best time to plant spring bulbs. Flowering from January onwards, these flowers are a real boon for insects looking for nectar, especially those that don’t hibernate or have come out of hibernation early. I am always surprised and amazed when I see bumblebees in January. 

Counting on …day 285

21st August 2022

Wildlife is also having to adapt to climate change – and will probably not always succeed because the change is happening too rapidly. In our small ways we can help by making sure our gardens are wildlife friendly – providing water for drinking and bathing, providing a variety of plants to ensure a food supply throughout the changing seasons, providing shelter and places to nest.

Counting on …day 264 

2nd August 2022

As plants shrivel and trees prematurely drop their leaves, we are seeing the damaging effects of climate change on our own environment. Periods of drought and heat waves are going to be an ongoing feature of daily life and something we need now to plan for. In our gardens it may be looking to see which plants are still surviving and which are suffering so that we know what to plant in the future. As we eke out water for our plants, it may be in setting up systems to collect grey water – even a bucket by the sink into which to our used washing up water. It may be in installing more water butts to,collect more water when it does rain. The  Mains to Rains project has more helpful suggestions –

 Counting on ….day 253

22nd July 2022

Whilst we may not be directly able to aid wild birds affected by avian flu -and which is devastating seabird colonies – we can help protect our garden birds from disease by ensuring we regularly clean birdbath and feeders. 

  Counting on …day 195

27th May 2022

“Pesticides are poisons and there should be no place for them on supermarkets shelves. We should not be using these chemicals in our gardens and allotments, where our children and pets play, and where our wildlife should be thriving. In any case there is no need for them – it is easy to garden without pesticides.” Professor Dave Goulson, University of Sussex

PAN UK believes that there should be a ban on selling glyphosate to the public and is leading a campaign to press supermarkets to stop selling pesticides in their stores. Both the Co-op and Waitrose no longer stock high risk synthetic pesticides.

safe to use?

For gardeners who wish to avoid using pesticides, PAN UK provides guidance on combating pests without the use of pesticides  –

Counting on …day 175 

7th May 2022 

According to the recent review, the  State of the World’s Birds, 48% of bird species populations are in decline, 39% are stable,  6% showing increases whilst a further 7% have unknown trends. The major cause of decline in bird populations is the growing footprint of human consumption. Alexander Lee, of the Metropolitan University Manchester and leader of the review, says that people should not feel helpless: “We all have connections [to birds]. If a company is associated with deforestation in Brazil, don’t buy stuff from them,” he said. “And if everyone spares as much land as possible within their gardens for nature, then that adds up to quite a large area. Another lever is voting – we get the politicians we vote for.”