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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Wild About Gardens

I've cheated a bit here because these orchids were on a track near a garden. The photos were taken in June 2008 during a walk but they would look good in someones wild garden area!

The notes shown below are taken from the latest newsletter from Wild About Gardens published by the RHS and the Wildlife Trusts to encourage people to encourage wildlife in their gardens. Click here to visit their web site. Or use this address:
The letter is well worth signing up for to keep up to date on what can be found in gardens.

"On a sunny day in May, it is easy to see why gardens are so important for biodiversity, the variety of life on earth. This is the month when plants race away, outgrowing their allotted spaces, and buds burst into bloom. Into this flourishing and colourful spectacle are drawn many creatures that rely on gardens for shelter, food or water.

This year is particularly important to biodiversity everywhere. It is the International Year of Biodiversity and 22 May is International Biodiversity Day. The aim is to highlight the worldwide decline in biodiversity. This is something that affects all of us, and it is something we can all act on in our own gardens.
Everything you do to help wildlife in the garden makes a difference. More than that, there are some garden species that are known to be in such steep decline that they have special conservation status. Examples include sparrows, starling, bumblebees and hedgehogs. These are species which you as a gardener can help. You can also help where countryside habitats – especially ponds – have declined, by providing substitutes.

What to look out for in May

More butterflies are flying by now. You could see any of: common blue, holly blue, orange tip, painted lady, and the whites – small, large and green-veined. Painted ladies are migrants that come, via Europe, from Morocco. Last year was a bumper year for them and it will be interesting to see what numbers visit us this year.

Look out for slow worms in your compost heap, or sheltering in warm damp places, for example under logs or rocks that have been warmed by the sun. They are active during the day, so there is a chance you may see them as they forage for slugs and snails.

* Swifts are migrants that start to arrive in late April or early May. It is hard to miss the aerial acrobatics and the distant shrieks that fill the air as they swoop and turn after airborne insects. They can be distinguished from swallows, also around now, by the lack of a pale breast and shorter tails. They stay just long enough to breed and return to Africa from late July onwards."

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