Tag Archives: wildlife

A Wonderful Woodland Walk

wildinthewoodscollage

On Saturday June 8th; members of Bothwell Community Garden and Brighter Bothwell were joined by villagers and Forestry Commission Ranger Alasdair Taylor for the ‘Wild In The Woods, Wild in the Garden’ walk in the beautiful environs of the Bothwell Woods.

We were absolutely blessed by the weather, and it was wonderful to see so many new faces, both young and young at heart, coming along to find out how to create a vital slice of woodland in their own gardens.

Captivating the children..

Captivating the children..

The walk introduced us to many of the native trees, plants and animals we live alongside; and Alasdair explained how ‘Woodland Edge’ ecosystems are hugely beneficial to wide range of creatures throughout the year; providing animals, insects and birds with sustenance and shelter.

Some of Alasdair’s tips to creating a slice of woodland in your own garden

1. Don’t cut your grass too short. If you must have a pristine lawn, do try and leave at least a small area to grow long and set seed; as grasses are vital to many small birds and provide cover and shelter for many beneficial insects.

2. Sow wildflowers into a patch of your garden, or even in a tub, to attract bees and butterflies; but ensure that the wildflower mix you use contains only those plants native to your area. This ensures that ‘rogue species’ do not start to proliferate and drown out or hybridise with local plant varieties.

3. Don’t be too strict about sweeping up and removing leaf-litter and garden detritus such as old logs. What may look like a mouldy old tree trunk to you is a vibrant ecosystem of creatures and fungi. Try and keep an area in your garden that is just for nature, and let nature do its thing.

4. Try and plant shrubs or small trees such as berberis or rowan to provide vital berries to birds during the Autumn and Winter months.

5. Insect and animal shelters; as well as ‘nesting balls’ full of twigs, hair, feathers etc and hung from trees will attract creatures to make your garden their home. Remember – if you find a nest, even if it is somewhere inconvenient for you, you MUST NOT move it. Please also note that hedges, which are vital nesting spots for many birds, must not be cut between the months of March and August to avoid scaring the birds from their nests. It is an offence, under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, to intentionally take, destroy or damage a nest  whilst it is being built or in use (please remember that some wild birds have second clutches, so seeing a first fledge may not be enough), and that includes frightening birds from their eggs or distressing nestlings and fledglings.

For further advice, please contact your local RSPB or the British Trust for Ornithology.

We have received some wonderful feedback about this walk and how informative people found it; and we look forward to our next Wild In The Woods, Wild in Garden event this coming Autumn. We would like to extend our thanks to Alasdair for such a great talk, and to everyone who came along.

(I would also like to say a huge thanks to Marjory for the fantastic photos of the day which are shown here.)

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This project is supported by the Forestry Commission Community Seedcorn Trust.

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Seed Blitzing Bothwell Park

seedbombingday

The weather may have been somewhat dreich and drab; but it was absolutely wonderful to see so many smiling faces joining members of Bothwell Community Garden, Brighter Bothwell and ranger Alasdair Taylor at our seed-bombing day at the new Forestry Commission site at Bothwell Park.

The team, expertly led by Alasdair, planted a variety of perennial plants which, in a few years, will blanket the ground around the paths; but the greatest fun of all was the seed-bombing which, as you can see, was thoroughly enjoyed by people of all ages!

A favourite tool of ‘guerilla gardeners’, the seed-bombs contained a mixture of native wildflower and grass seeds (it is imperative that we only sow seeds that are native to this area), and were thrown into areas more difficult to reach. The clay in the bombs will break down, and the seeds will germinate, then nature takes over and, over the coming years, the flowers and grasses will spread throughout the site, attracting bees, butterflies and other native fauna.

Making (and then throwing!) seed-bombs is fantastic (if messy!) fun for children of all ages, as the schoolchildren from Bothwell Primary who came along to help us make 700 (yes, 700!) of them will testify. If you could like to have a go at making some yourselves, and introducing some wildflower seeds to your local area, you can find a simple to follow guide suitable for children as young as three here.

Alasdair will be joining us again at the garden on June 8th for a short talk on Gardening for Scottish Wildlife as part of Bothwell Community Garden and Brighter Bothwell’s ‘Wild in the Woods, Wild in the Garden’ project, supported by the Forestry Commission’s Community Seedcorn Fund; so if you want to find out how to turn a patch of your garden – or even a pot – into a haven for local wildlife, do come along and join us. Further details to follow.

Grow flowers for bees – A guest post by Brigit Strawbridge

It was truly amazing that Europe voted to support the partial ban on neonicotinoids this week, not least because it demonstrates a shifting awareness and consciousness of the importance of pollinators. However, although the restrictions will help enormously, they will not in themselves stop bee decline.

We need to continue the momentum we have built up on the pesticides issue, but also we all need, urgently, to PLANT MORE FLOWERS!

flowers

We have lost a staggering 98% of wildflower meadows and grasslands in the UK since the 1940’s. It is difficult to change agricultural practices overnight, but it is easy for those of us with gardens to fill every available space in ours with nectar & pollen rich flowers.

Many people say they haven’t room for flowers because they are using it all to grow fruit & veg – but without the flowers to sustain the pollinators throughout their life-cycles….. there will BE no fruit & veg!

Others say they can’t afford to buy plants or seeds, but there is not a gardener on the planet who would not willingly and freely share cuttings or seeds from their established plants.

If you are wondering what to plant, just go to your local garden centre and buy whatever flowering plants are covered with bees…..or look in your neighbours’ gardens to see which of their plants are being enjoyed by bees and ask for a cutting, or seeds when they set seed.

My favourite website for information on attracting pollinators to your garden is Foxleas:

http://www.foxleas.com/

And my favourite book is the recently published ‘Plants for Bees’:
http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/plantsforbees

Brigit ‘Bee’ Strawbridge is probably best known as one of the stars of the very successful BBC series ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ and  is an enthusiastic and very successful campaigner for the planet. Brigit has been a major influence in spreading the word about bee decline and the dangers of neonictotinoids throughout media outlets and social networking. She offers talks and workshops throughout the UK and has written a number of hugely inspiring articles for the national press and many environmental websites. You can follow Bee’s fantastic blog here.

Inspired by Brigit’s post? Please join us for our seed-bombing afternoon at Bothwell Park on Sunday May 12th; and our Gardening for Scottish Wildlife course on Saturday June 8th.

Beautiful flower beds in Culzean Castle grounds.

Beautiful flower beds in Culzean Castle grounds.