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[Fwd: [veganorganic] Gardening for wildlife]

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  • Richard Morris
    ... Subject: [veganorganic] Gardening for wildlife Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 16:11:09 -0700 (PDT) From: veganorganic@riseup.net Great article!
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 13, 2005
      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: [veganorganic] Gardening for wildlife
      Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 16:11:09 -0700 (PDT)
      From: veganorganic@...

      Great article!


      How to attract wildlife to your garden

      Paul Brown, environment correspondent
      Wednesday April 13, 2005
      The Guardian

      An alliance between gardeners and wildlife enthusiasts to develop
      Britain's 15m gardens into havens for birds, bats, snakes, hedgehogs and
      other creatures was launched yesterday.
      The Royal Horticultural Society and the Wildlife Trusts want to encourage
      more gardens to be adapted to the needs of wildlife but also to discover
      what already lives behind the privet hedges in Britain's suburbs.

      Although it has long been recognised that gardens can provide a home for
      species driven off farmland and from countryside that has been covered in
      concrete, this is an attempt to pool the knowledge of gardeners living
      close to each other to provide bigger blocks of wildlife-friendly terrain.

      A website where gardeners can share information, tips and stories of
      wildlife in their gardens was launched yesterday. Gardeners are also asked
      to send in postcards detailing the species which can be seen in their
      flower beds.
      Among the unknowns is whether native species are attracted to exotic
      plants imported into gardens from other countries.

      Stephanie Holborne, chief executive of the Wildlife Trusts, said: "Much of
      the farmed countryside is like an empty snooker table, flat and green and
      devoid of interest, whereas gardens are full of wildlife."

      She said compost heaps, as well as improving the quality of soil, saving
      peat, and reducing landfill, provided a home for insects and somewhere to
      hide for frogs, toads and newts.

      She rejected the idea that gardens and wildlife were in conflict. But some
      species, such as rats, would be discouraged.

      "It is very much a question of personal taste. Some people regard grey
      squirrels as pests and others like them. We are not telling people they
      cannot discourage some forms of wildlife, but a lot of creatures and birds
      are very welcome in a garden," Ms Holborne said.

      For example hedgehogs, slowworms, frogs and toads eat slugs and snails,
      and birds and beetles eat aphids. Excess use of chemicals killed many of
      these beneficial creatures.

      Among the concerns was the need to provide plants which could feed insects
      but also help keep down unwelcome pests.

      An example was the hover fly which have short tongues and need to open
      flowers like daisies, fennel, dill and courgettes to feed. If they breed
      then the larvae, which eat more aphids than ladybirds and at colder
      temperatures, would repay gardeners for providing suitable habitat.

      Honeybees must gather nectar from 2m flowers to make half a kilogram of
      honey. Urban hives produce more honey than rural ones because of the
      number of flowers in gardens. Honeysuckle produces large amounts of nectar
      and its strongly scented flowers attract moths in the evening which in
      turn attract feeding bats.

      Val Bourne, the author of the Natural Gardener, said: "Abandon the
      insecticides and slug pellets, compost your own garden waste, leave leaf
      litter undisturbed and have some long grass. In return you will be dazzled
      by the movement of bees, butterflies and insect life."

      A helping hand

      1 Use ornamental plants that provide a food source over a long period.
      Include nectar- and pollen-rich plants for bees, butterflies and other
      flower-visiting insects, and fruiting trees and shrubs for mammals and
      birds. Night-flowering or scented species will benefit moths.

      2 Create a log pile to benefit insects, fungi, birds, mice, hedgehogs,
      slowworms, newts and toads.

      3 Leave some plants uncut throughout winter to provide seeds for food and
      shelter to birds and other creatures.

      4 Reduce the use of chemicals, particularly to control insects. All
      insects are an important part of the natural food chain in your garden for
      other wildlife to feed on.

      5 A water feature (a washing-up bowl set into the ground will do) without
      fish will enable frogs and newts to spawn. They will return the favour by
      eating slugs and snails.

      6 Reduce the size of your lawn, or consider leaving part of it uncut. Long
      grass can be beneficial to many species.

      7 Alternatively turn all or part of your lawn into a wildflower meadow.
      This will require careful management but will provide food and shelter for
      wildlife of all kinds.

      8 Attract bats and hedgehogs by providing specially built boxes
      comfortable enough for hibernation.

      9 Put out a variety of nuts, seeds and fat balls to attract birds when
      natural food sources are scarce. They will at the same time eat the bugs
      and aphids on apple trees.

      10 Ivy, honeysuckle and clematis and other climbers along with hedges
      offer shelter and potential nesting places for birds and overwintering
      sites for butterflies.
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