As we pootled around the Botanic Garden in Nigel Taylor’s buggy admiring our surroundings we spotted a young monitor lizard on the trunk of a palm tree. The reason that it was up there turns out to be that if they stay on the ground their parents will eat them!
A scheme in Scotland has come up with a roundabout way to grow flowers to help boost the bees. A study into the attractiveness to wildlife of urban sites sown with wildflower seeds has shown that roundabouts and road verges can easily be converted into flower-rich havens for bees and other wildlife by replacing grass with wild flowers. The simple schemes sowing wildflower seed mixes resulted in 50 times more bumblebees and 13 times as many hoverflies on unused corners of land in urban areas according to new research from the University of Sussex and the University of Stirling. The seeds were sown by the Stirling-based group On the Verge, with a seed mix that contained a range of meadow wildflowers of local provenance.
The Native Butterfly Garden at Hampton Court is a meshed enclosure containing many of our native butterflies, the rarest of which is the Camberwell Beauty – a butterfly I had never seen before, except in a photograph, so I was thrilled to see dozens of them fluttering amongst the flowers in their enclosure. Things were a lot more exotic in the Eden Project Dome, where swallowtails swooped around the plants, along with many other colourful tropical butterflies, including a cluster of enormous flutterers feasting on fruit.
Much as I would love to give a hedgehog a home in my garden, our area is inundated with badgers who consider them a tasty snack. Although we have now (fingers crossed) secured our boundaries from badger invasion, hedgehogs need a large area to range over – so one way and another this rules them out. For those of you who are badger free, the best way to assist hedgehogs is by helping them avoid man-made hazards and providing them with suitable places to nest, especially in the winter. They will reward you by eating slugs, beetles, and caterpillars. With every Hogilo Hedgehog House & Feeding Lounge bought from Garden4less in May a total £10 from the sale will be donated to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS).