Great pollinator reads

With Christmas just around the corner, here are some great books to buy as presents, or to put on your own Santa’s wish list. Planting: Companion to Wildlife Gardening by Chris Baines The Wildlife Gardener by Kate Bradbury No Nettles Required: The Reassuring Truth About Wildlife Gardening by Ken Thompson THE RHS Wildlife Gardening for…

Plant of the month – Blue Eryngo

Eryngium planum, known as Blue Eryngo or Flat Sea Holly, is native to central and southeastern Europe and central Asia. It is a herbaceous perennial growing to 90 cm high with branched silvery-blue stems, and numerous small blue conical flowerheads surrounded by spiky bracts in summer. It is bush-like in appearance but fits in well in any herbaceous border.   It has…

Plant of the month – Hawthorn

A familiar site this month is the “Mayflower” or Hawthorn. The name haw, originally an Old English term for hedge, applies to the fruit. Common hawthorn can support more than 300 insects and is the foodplant for the caterpillars of many moths and other insects. The flowers, which are prolific this month, are highly scented, white or…

May Spotlight Species

One of the commonest kind of solitary bee on the wing this month is the “Nomad” Bee. Often mistaken for small wasps, these tiny bees are cleptoparasites – or cuckoo bees. Female Nomad bees search for solitary bee nesting burrows and while the host bee is out foraging, they enter the nest and lay an…

Ponds & Pollinators

Not everyone would consider ponds when thinking about garden habitats for pollinators. However, if planted with these insects in mind, a pond (or other water feature) can be extremely beneficial. Many native pond plants provide important nectar and pollen. The best of these include: Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) Water Forget-me-not (Myositis scorpiodes) Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata)…

April Spotlight Species

Peacock butterflies (Aglais io) are now coming out of hibernation and appearing in our gardens. They will have spent the winter in sheltered refuges such as hollows in trees or garden sheds. The Peacock is unmistakable, with spectacular eyes on the upperside of the hindwings resembling those on a Peacock’s feather and will appear very…

Food for caterpillars

While bees and wasps require pollen and nectar-rich flowers to feed themselves and their young, butterflies and moths have different food requirements. Adult insects are nectar feeders but their offspring are not, and need plant leaves and grasses for food. Female butterflies and moths locate and lay their eggs on the type of plant that…

Plant Of The Month – Borage

Borage (Borago officinalis), also known as a starflower, is an annual herb which was introduced to Britain by the Romans, and is native to the Mediterranean region. It is occasionally found on cultivated ground and around the coast in Guernsey, and grows really well in gardens, remaining there from year to year by self-seeding. The plant grows to a…

Get planting!

A ‘wildlife garden’ doesn’t mean that everything in has to be ‘wild’ or ‘native’. While native wildflowers are certainly good for pollinating insects, some require low nutrient soils and are hard to establish in gardens. There is, however, a whole range of species of flower that are related to our wild flowers but are better…

February spotlight species

The Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) is one of the first solitary bees to appear in the year, with males emerging as early as the end of February. This bumblebee-sized insect can be seen darting around gardens protecting a territory and searching for females. Flower bees are extremely fast flyers but often hover in front of…