Gardening particular: Develop for nature 

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Bumblebees love color – the lighter the better

Turn your garden into a blooming oasis for bees, birds and butterflies with these simple ideas

Over the past 50 years there has been a gradual reversal of roles. Often times nowadays it is the landscape that is highly manicured and it is gardens that wildlife depend on for a living. The popularity of garden ponds has resulted in a huge increase in the number of newts and frogs. Many butterflies, rare in the countryside today, find everything they need in gardens, and some once common land birds now rely on them for food, especially in winter.

Good plants to attract butterflies are lavender and buddleja

Much of the difference is due to the lower use of pesticides in gardens than arable land, but many gardens are also designed and managed more towards wildlife.

Wildlife contributes a lot to the garden. There’s always something to see – a blackbird teaching its babies how to pull worms out of the lawn and, if you’re lucky, hedgehogs on summer nights. There are butterflies, birds and bees and strange insects to identify. With something that interests the whole family, the garden can – I can only say it – become educational.

Anything you can do to make the garden more animal friendly will help. To encourage birds, grow plants that provide them with natural food: seeds of ornamental and wild grasses, berries and fruits, sunflowers, and thistle plants such as cardens. Put out birdseed, suet, pieces of cheese and dried fruit, especially in winter and now in spring when you have chicks to feed. Good plants for attracting butterflies and bees are lavender, marjoram, scabies, Michaelmas daisies (Aster novae-angliae), ice plant (Sedum spectabile) and the aptly named butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii).

The cutest tweet: a blue tit on a crab apple tree

The cutest tweet: a blue tit on a crab apple tree

Wild flowers are more than just decoration. They are important in attracting insects and feeding the caterpillars of butterflies and moths. To grow your own, sow seeds in pots or trays – annuals in spring, perennials in fall – then plant them in soil that has been forked but not fertilized. Good wild flowers for moist soil and around ponds are women’s gowns (Cardamine pratensis) and marigolds (Caltha palustris), while wooden anemones and thimbles are perfect for shade under trees. Plant ox-eye daisies and poppies in the long grass; and in short grass, cowslips, primroses and violets. These are perfect for people who cannot get a handle on a full-grown wildflower meadow. Just mow the lawn with the blades tall enough to miss those little treasures.

Once everything has been designed and planted, leave it alone as much as possible – the less disturbance it causes, the better your chances of attracting rare creatures like slow worms and stag beetles. Do not clean up old perennial flower stalks until spring. Spiders and other beneficial insects use the dead plants to hibernate in winter.

Flowering perennials like Echinacea create an insect-loving rural garden atmosphere

Flowering perennials like Echinacea create an insect-loving rural garden atmosphere

Above all, stop using pesticides. Over time, a natural balance will be established. If you do something as simple as not spraying the green fly on roses, all kinds of creatures like lace flies, hover flies, and blue tits will be encouraged to feed on them. The “good” wildlife picks up the “bad” and automatically takes care of garden pests. At least partially.

Throw away the chemicals

In the past, spraying was viewed as a magic wand for plant problems. But today there are other pest and disease controls that are just as effective and environmentally conscious. The advantage of these natural techniques is that you don’t get rid of the useful mistakes along with the bad ones.

Green and yellow Sulfur dust

Good for powdering on stored onions to prevent rot. It’s also handy for controlling powdery mildew on plants – but use a gentle drag, don’t soak them.

Plant protection jelly

Also known as barrier glue, it’s a sticky gunge that you apply around the edges of containers, the legs of greenhouse staging, or the bark of trees to protect yourself from crawling pests such as snails, winter moth caterpillars, adult weevils, ants and wood lice .

Remove pests with yucca extract spray

Remove pests with yucca extract spray

Accompanying planting

Some plants are said to repel pests. They may emit deterrent chemicals or attract predatory insects. Try small flowery marigolds (marigolds) between your tomatoes and garlic or under your roses. Pop nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) around fruit trees in the vegetable garden.

Biological control

These insect agents unleash a powerful living enemy against pests and attack or eat the bad guys. Snails can be wiped out by nematodes (tiny parasites found in the wild). while greenfly can be controlled by a parasitic “fly” called Aphidius in greenhouses.

Yucca extract

Sold as a spray that you apply to the ground as a barrier that molluscs such as snails and slugs do not cross. A wide barrier with really sharp sand also has a similar effect.

and copper rings, says Alan

and copper rings, says Alan

Copper ribbon or rings

This acts like a tiny electric fence on the edge of pots or vegetable patches. Mollusks don’t cross because the copper gives them a tiny electric shock that they obviously don’t like.

Encourage birds

By setting up nest boxes and hanging bird feeders year round, you will encourage birds into your yard. Not only are birds a joy to watch, but they also play an important role in pest control – in the case of blue, they feed on caterpillars and green flies boobs, and even snails in thrushes. Make them feel at home.