Actions for Animals

 
Wildlife and our last remaining wild places are being destroyed because of human action or inaction and because of our own short –term greed.

Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa

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Category: Wildlife Habitat: Wildlife Friendly Gardens

  1. Don't Mow in May - join Plantlife for this citizen science project

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    Good news for those of you who don’t like mowing your lawn and would love a really good reason not to bother.

    Well, mowing the lawn could attract 10 x the number of bees that you would usually get!

    Give bees a Super Lawn!

    Lawns cut every four weeks are being called “super lawns” and it’s reckoned that they attract 4,000 bees a day on average.

    However, those cut regularly to keep them neat and tidy bring in just an average of 400 bees a day.

    This is a HUGE difference. 


    Take part in a citizen science project:  Every Flower Counts!

    This has all been worked out by charity Plantlife.   They’ve got an Every Flower Counts survey.  Nearly 2,000 households were asked how often they mow their lawns; and then they were asked to count the number of wild flowers in one squared patches.

    Daisies were most abundant on lawns, followed by white clover and the violet coloured selfheal.

    Asking those surveyed to count 24 different wildflowers, Plantlife could work out how much nectar the whole garden produced – and how many bees that could support.

    And that’s where they discovered that one in five lawns called super lawns would entice ten times more bees.

    Let your lawn grow

    So Plantlife advise that we keep sections of our lawn long so that we can support wild flowers such as oxeye daisy, field scabious, knapweed and even orchids.   Daisies and white clover are short stemmed wild plants – they produce more flowers if cut back once a month.

    So some parts of your lawn should have a monthly cut to boost short plants.  And we should all put aside an area for longer grass – what Plantlife call a Mohican haircut!

    Bees and butterflies need different sorts of flowers.  Combine them, and the lawns in the survey produced 50lb of nectar a day – and that’s enough to support over 2 million honeybees.

    Count your flowers and report in 

    So our task is to work out which parts of the lawn to short cut, which to leave long, and then to put the kettle on and settle down with a cuppa and listen to the birdsong!  

    And one final thing to do....

    Count the flowers on your lawn and find out how many bees it can support!  The more flowers in your lawn, and the more types of flowers you've got, the more bees you'll be able to support.

    Every Flower Counts takes palce from 23rd to 31st May 2020 so let Plantlife know your results!

    From your results, Plantlife can calculate a National Nectar Index to show how lawns in Britain are helping to feed pollinators.  And they'll show you how you can increase the number of flowers in your lawn! 

    #NoMowMay

     

  2. National Gardening Week is 27 April to 3 May

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    National Gardening Week takes place from Monday 27 April to Sunday 3 May, 2020.

    This year, the RHS is calling on gardeners to go out into gardens or balconies as a way to look after their physical health and wellbeing, and to keep growing at home.

    Gardening gives you space to think, to be...

    Gardening is a great way to boost the mood and there’s nothing like feeling the earth between your fingers to connect with the world.  Plants, flowers, bushes and trees all make for great company;  they give you space to think about things, and life, and drift in your thoughts; they give your mind a chance to rest and relax and immerse yourself in the moment and forget what’s going on in the world.  They don’t interrupt your train of thought. They just let you be….

    Although we are in lock-down, many garden centres around the country are giving us the chance to order online or even call them and put in an order over the phone. 

    Bring gardening into your home

    You don’t need a garden, either – you could bring nature into your home with a houseplant, herbs on a window sill, perhaps in the kitchen, watching gardening videos, and “visiting” many famous gardens online!

    The RHS website has a huge Grow Your Own advice section, with help on growing fruit, growing vegetables and growing herbs.  

    Go potty in the garden!

    I LOVE pots!  I’ve put a couple of strawberry plants into small pots and so far I’ve counted 5 strawberries coming on one, and 2 on another.  I keep going out into the garden and talking to them to encourage them.  My husband thinks I’ve gone mad, but I love it. 

    We’ve also got a dwarf blueberry bush in a pot on the patio, a dwarf raspberry bush, also in a pot, and a peach tree.  

    Grow your own fruit, or give a fruit tree or bush to a loved one as a gift!

    Grow your own fruit, or give a fruit tree or bush to a loved one as a gift!
    Tree2mydoor.com send trees and plants as gifts

     

    Fill your garden with colour

    And don’t forget flowers – they are lovely for making you feel brighter.  Last year, I sowed some freesias in several little pots and this year, much to my surprise, they have all come up into beautiful flowers and I’ve got a gorgeous scent coming from them.  Red, yellow and dark pink freesias are really giving me something to smile about. 

    Feel a sense of achievement

    Gardening gives you the chance to create and enjoy your own beautiful green space, whether in the house or in the garden, or both!  There’s nothing like the feeling of achievement it gives you, and the joy you have looking at the fruits of your labours!  

    Enjoy learning!

    Visit the RHS and check out their advice section – you’ll find so much information to help you!  It’s not all reading, either – they have videos you can watch as well J  

    Share your garden

    Wildlife need our gardens, especially as we are taking so much of their homes off them.  They need hedgerows, trees and bushes to nest in, to rest in, to shelter in from the wind, rain and sun.  Provide them with access to water in a pond or a bird bath (those can be small as well), put up bird feeders, stick a pile of logs in a corner and leave it all a bit messy there, and you will have your own nature show to enjoy, full of beautiful sounds. 

    	 Foyalty 18 Gardeners' World: 101 Ideas for a Wildlife-friendly Garden


    Get the kids busy and their hands dirty!

    Hands can easily be cleaned – get the kids out into the garden and give them the chance to discover all about the outside world by getting their hands dirty, their t-shirts all covered in muddy earth, their feet wet… there’s nothing like it.  All that fresh air and activity will hopefully wear them out!

    Immerse yourself in gardens when you sit down.

    Immerse yourself in a gardening related book!

    There are lots of gardening programmes  - watch Monty Don and his fabulous retrievers Nigel and Nellie on iplayer,  you could also subscribe to a gardening magazine for a few months or more, read gardening books, watch gardening videos (RHS on You Tube for instance), take a gardening course (you can get online ones from Red Letter Days now). 

    So there’s plenty to do to bring gardening into your life. 

    Happy National Gardening Week! 

  3. The British Garden: Life and Death on your Lawn on BBC4

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    On BBC4 on Sunday evening (12 April 2020) at 8pm, there a programme called “The British Garden:  Life and Death on your Lawn.”

    Chris Packham and a team of wildlife experts spent a year exploring every inch of a series of back gardens in Welwyn Garden City.  The gardens are all interlinked, and Packham and the team want to find out how much wildlife lives beyond our back doors, and how good is wildlife for the British garden?

    Amongst other things, Chris meets a family of foxes and a ball of frisky frogs.

    By the end of the year, Chris will find out how well our gardens support wildlife and how many different species call our gardens home.

    A team from London’s Natural History Museum are among those who are involved in the programme.

    Find out more from the programme’s website here.

     

  4. Please see this video from Gravitas - how nature is reclaiming its spaces due to the Coronavirus

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    Sometimes you see something on the internet or on television that really hits you hard and makes a point extremely well.

    I saw this video, this afternoon, and I wanted to share it with you.  Please share it with everyone you can.

    The ultimate message is that we SHARE this planet.  It demonstrates how dominant the human race has become - and how selfish.   I am not going to tell you anymore about it - please just watch it for yourself.   Here it is:



    Thank you, Gravitas.

    Please vow to make a difference today. 
    Find out how to reduce your impact on the earth's resources here.

     

     

     

     

  5. Road verges - a silver lining? says Plantlife

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    If I’m driving along in my car, I always find the wildlife flowers on our verges to be very uplifting to see.

    And whilst I’ve been having my daily one walk during the lockdown because of the coronavirus, I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the wild flowers which are about.

    Please give Plantlife your support with their Road Verge Campaign

    Please give Plantlife your support with their Road Verge Campaign


    Plantlife is a charity that works nationally and internationally to raise the profile of our wild flowers, plants and our fungi.  They support our wildlife and they are vital.  Their colour and character give us cheer and brighten up our day and journeys.

    It’s really important to protect our wild flowers, our plants and our fungi.  And our roadsides have been much quieter of late, as lockdown is observed.  The drone of many councils’ mowers have also fall silent as councils may have reduced grass cutting down to the minimum required to maintain visibility and make sure our roads are safe.

    Plantlife hope that reduced cutting frequencies may help verge wildflowers to grow, flower and set seed.  Flowers such as the white campion, betony, greater knapweed and harebell, the chance to grow, flower and set seed. 

    The good news is that a more wildlife-friendly management regime will help tackle climate change.

    Flowers on a road verge are an uplifting sight


    Over 300 local authorities have now declared a climate emergency.   Reducing their cutting regimes, as recommended in Plantlife’s management guidelines, will also help councils bring down carbon emissions. 

    Hopefully it won’t be long before we can all get outside and enjoy the wild flowers along our roadside.  Meantime, please visit Plantlife’s website to see how you can support their “Support the road verge campaign.”