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USEFUL

RESOURCES

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USEFUL RESOURCES.

This is a new section of our website where we will link to fantastic charitable organizations well worthy of all our support and encouragement, who are working hard to protect the environment and our precious native wildlife.

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Birdwatch Ireland is a registered charity. Their primary objective is the protection of wild birds and their habitats in Ireland. They are an excellent resource of information and supplier of a large range of books, birdwatching equipment, feeders, bird food and much much more.

The work they do in conservation is vitally important and are well worth supporting.

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Green Sod Irelands Miission

The purpose of Green Sod Ireland is to protect and conserve Irish land in perpetuity, for the sake of its indigenous inhabitants:

Animals, plants, soils, rocks, micro-organisms and the like for their own sake, for present and future generations.

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 space for wildlife to thrive.

So where to start ?

First off,  a wildlife friendly garden can look fantastic and as impressive as any garden planted with non native ornamental plants.

 

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 in their own right, will be a food source and attract larger animals higher up the food chain to your garden. Then you need to provide the habitat to encourage these larger animals to stay and possibly breed, in this wonderful wildlife friendly space that you have created.

 

 

In relation to the wildlife that your garden will attract, it doesn't always have to be the bigger animals that are the star attractions.

Hedgehog out foraging
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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 intriguingly 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, simple pleasure it brings to engage with our natural surroundings.

Bumblebee with full pollen baskets on Alium sphaeracephalon
Red Admiral Butterfly on Wallflower Erysium Bowles Mauve

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 leave a section of your lawn uncut, you would be amazed once nature is given a chance to rejuvenate what will appear in the form of beautiful wildflowers, which in turn attract pollinating insects and other wildlife. Or even better, source some native wildflower seed and plant it and have your very own species rich wildflower meadow. 

Ladybird on spring hawthorn blossom, an important source of nectar and pollen for our pollinators.
Wren at Wildacres
Autumn Hawthorn berries, Beautiful and a great food source for our native wildlife

It is important when planting flowering plants to choose plants that have flowers with a simple open structure.

 

Some ornamental plants  have been cross bred to produce multi petalled flowers for show., classic examples of this would be some varieties of Dahlias, Roses and Cherry Blossom. These are a real problem (as the picture below of the bumblebee on multi-petalled rose shows) for our pollinators as when visiting flowers, they want to quickly access their food source of nectar and pollen and not have to try to navigate through the multitude of petals in such complicated flower structures.

 

So when choosing plants for your garden to help our pollinators, choose from the multitude of wonderful plants that have this simple open structure to the flowers. Even better, choose from some of our beautiful native flowering plants that our pollinators have evolved with over millennia.  They have evolved to time their breeding patterns and emergence from hibernation to coincide with the flowering, and later for our other wildlife such as birds and mammals, the fruiting, of these native plants and rely on them as a vital food source as winter approaches. 

Bumblebee confused on a multi-petalled rose
Bumblebee on a native wildflower Marsh woundwort

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 a lot of cases, follow up with an autumn display of fiery foliage or stunning fruit, or both ! 

Solitary Bee on Sorbus aucuparia
Native Honeysuckle Lonicera pericylmenum

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 

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Solitary Bee on Dandelion
Annual Wildflower Meadow