One of the reasons why buying locally grown flowers - or growing your own - is a great idea is that while your blooms are growing they are providing food and homes for thousands of pollinators. Both Sara and I have a whole army of companions on our own patches, who help to keep them healthy, vibrant places. Today is International Day for Biodiversity, biodiversity is celebrated by flower farmers and organic gardeners everywhere.
If you are one of our members then you have this all 'sown' up (sic). Did you see what I did there? We have a whole heap of materials on our blog to help teachers, nursery workers, childminders and parents to inspire their youngsters to create a haven for wildlife. For those of you who haven't joined us yet, here are ten easy peasy things to make or do to make your garden, backyard, playground or neighbourhood a biodiversity heaven. With Half Term coming up it's a perfect time to get started on any or all of these projects.
- Build a compost heap. You'll be making hundreds of worms and microorganisms happy and you'll also be making 'black gold' to feed the soil. Then you'll be able to grow bucketsfull of lovely blooms to keep the pollinators happy too. Win. Win!
- Plant a meadow in a pot. You don't need a field to grow a wildflower meadow. A few seedballs planted in a pot or windowbox will be effective in attracting bees and butterflies. You could buy them ready made from Seedball or as a fun extra element to the project, make your own from wildflower seed, compost, a bit of clay and a dash of chilli powder to stop them being eaten before they flower. Simple.
- Make a bee hotel. Allium stems are perfect for this, pushed into a washed out tin can.
- Sink a mini wildlife pond. An old washing up bowl buried in the garden will do the job. I use a half barrel planter lined with plastic. It keeps my resident frogs happy and my plants are happy too as the frogs eat the slugs. Nature in action.
- Feed the birds. Mealworms, fat balls, seedcake, popcorn...the choice is yours. Better still if you make your own.
- Design a bug hotel. Trawl the internet. Collect an old wooden pallet and let loose your inner architect.
- Build a hedgehog a home. Hedgehogs are in decline. I hardly ever see one now whereas a few years ago there was usually one crossing the road late at night. Build a hedgehog home and you'll be doing your bit for the ones that do live in your neighbourhood.
- Construct a log pile and watch the woodlice and their chums move in.
- Make a frog home. Sara and I both have toads living in our coldframes at the moment. A broken terracotta pot placed in a cool, damp, shady spot will be enough to attract a frog to move in.
- Plant up a bee friendly garden. Bees need food all through the year - not just during the long, hot Summer. (I'm an optimist!) Do some homework and plant up some thing to flower all year round.
If you want to find out more about bringing wildlife into your garden, why not check out Wild about Gardens. They will send you suggestions on a regular basis, if you sign up to their newsletter.