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Gardening For Biodiversity

GARDENING FOR BIODIVERSITY.

Gardens are an incredibly important refuge and source of habitat for our threatened wildlife.

 

If we were all to manage our gardens in a more wildlife friendly manner it would make a significant difference to Biodiversity levels, as well as, we firmly believe, improving our own well being, and levels of stress and anxiety .

What is more relaxing and fulfilling than watching a stunning butterfly fluttering by, or a bumblebee happily buzzing from flower to flower in your garden. Or the thrill of catching a glimpse of a hedgehog shuffling across your lawn on its nocturnal ramblings, as the one we spotted below whilst walking home. Or a bat zig zaging across the night sky hunting for insects above your garden. Knowing you have provided the habitat for them to survive and even thrive, so important in these times of catastrophic biodiversity loss. 

Or what about on a cold winters day watching the array of hungry birds feeding off your garden bird feeders from the comfort of your own room. Maybe watching a rare visitor such as our recently arrived great spotted woodpecker, or a sparrowhawk swooping in to try to catch its dinner.

 

There are so many thrills that nature has to offer that can be found enjoyed in your own garden, if you allow a space for wildlife and plant to provide them with food and shelter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So where to start ?

 

Well the key to attracting wildlife into your garden is to first off create the environment that will be a rich habitat for  all manner of insect life. These insects, apart from being colorful and fascinating themselves, will be a food source and attract larger animals higher up the food chain. Then you need to provide the habitat to encourage these larger animals to stay and possibly breed in this wonderful wildlife habitat you have created.

 

 

In relation to the wildlife that in your garden it doesn't always have to be the bigger animals that are the star attractions. It can be just as fascinating exploring and observing the worlds of the smaller critters, for example identifying some of our intriguing solitary bees, such as the mining solitary bees which burrow into the soil to lay their eggs. Or the amazing leaf cutter solitary bees, that nest in such locations as hollow plant stems, or the bee hotel you might have put up, and that cut up sections of leaves and bring them to their nests to seal up the entrances.

 

So they are the culprits that have been leaving bite marks out of your rose leaves... Perhaps ? .

 

There is so much to see if we take the time to look, and one thing is certain there is absolutely no end to the fascination..

When planting in our gardens we often overlook the stunning native trees, shrubs and wildflowers we have here in Ireland. They are at least a match, and we would contend often more impressive, and certainly overall more beneficial to our native wildlife than the ornamental plants in our garden centers. In fact most good garden centers will stock some of the plants listed below. 

Why not let a section of your lawn uncut and see what wildflowers emerge, you would be amazed once nature is given a chance to rejuvenate what will appear in the form of all manner of beautiful wildlife attracting wildflowers. Or even better, source some native wildflower seed and plant it and have your very own species rich wildflower meadow. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following is a list of recommended native trees and shrubs that would be great for wildlife, but will also delight you with beautiful flowering displays and in some cases, follow up with an autumn display of fiery foliage or stunning fruit, or both ! 

 

You then have the added benefit in that they will attract all manner of fascinating wildlife to delight you, and what about that feeling of satisfaction, knowing you are helping halt and reverse the truly alarming loss of biodiversity that we are experiencing.

Click on each plant name to see some photos we have taken of them in flower and fruit.

Native Trees and Shrubs  

 

 

 

 

Ornamental Non Native Trees Shrubs and Flowers

Trees

  • Ornamental Flowering  Cherry . Prunus serrulata ‘Tai Haku’, 

  • Bee Tree Tetradium danielli . 

  • Rowan Sorbus sp.

  • Lime tree Tilia cordata

  • Horse Chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum

  • Indian Bean Tree  Catalpa bignonioides

  • Foxglove tree Paulownia tomentosa

  • Wayfaring Tree    Viburnum lantana

Shrubs

  • Darwin’s barberry Berberis darwinii 

  • Hebe Hebe species 

Peacock Butterfly on Buddleia bush
Hedgehog out foraging
Solitary Bee on Dandelion
Honeybee and Bumblebee on Echium pininana
Bumblebee with full pollen baskets on Alium sphaeracephalon
Red Admiral Butterfly on Wallflower Erysium Bowles Mauve
Annual Wildflower Meadow