Anne Luder came to our March meeting to talk about Gardening for Wildlife.
She started her talk highlighting the numbers of native British birds, animals and plants that we have lost or are in danger of losing. The WI has previously campaigned on the decline of the bee population due to decline in a favourable habitat, disease and climate change, but other factors are threatening other species. The introduction of an aggressive American crayfish is endangering our smaller British native for example. Cuckoo populations are in decline due to being hunted as a game bird in West Africa on their migration route. Pollution, pernicious weeds, agriculture, loss of hedgerows and over-development also affect the habitats traditional British flora and fauna depend on.
Anne highlighted various ways we can make simple adaptations in our own gardens to encourage wildlife.
The RHS have a Perfect for Pollinators scheme which highlights good plants to include in your garden. Leaving sections of the lawn uncut and planting wildflowers create habitats and food for beneficial insects and animals. Making sure planting is dense and at different levels from ground cover to shrubs, climbers and trees offers protection for a diverse range of animal life, and ensuring your garden contains plants that flower at different times of the year to provide food for a wide range of pollinators. Leaving plants to set seed rather than tidying up provides food for bird life and cover for bugs.
Putting bird feeders in your garden can also help, as can various types of nest boxes, bee houses, insect hotels and bat boxes, and putting water out, or having a pond or water feature adds to the diversity of your garden.