Find out about a variety of projects that you can take in your garden in order to attract wildlife. Susan Simmonds will cover both large and small actions ranging from window boxes to creating wildlife ponds. She will look at some of the pollinator plants you might like to consider introducing to the garden and talk about the huge benefits of some of our very common plants such as dandelions and ivy.
All welcome to join this virtual meeting via Zoom, talk starts 7.30pm, free for members, £3 non-members.
Note:- The Zoom invitation will be emailed beforehand to members and to those on our mailing list. Anyone else who wants to join the meeting can request an invitation through our contact us page.
Susan has a lifelong passion for wildlife and has worked in the conservation sector for Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) for over 20 years. She is also a sessional lecturer at Sparsholt College and enjoys passing on her knowledge through running training courses like plant species identification and mammal tracks and signs.
See blogs written by Susan https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/blog/-susan-simmonds and a series of short YouTube videos https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%27susan+simmonds%27.
Summary written after an excellent talk: The chief take-away for attracting wildlife in your garden is to let your garden grow wild! Those present who happened to also be members of Froyle Gardening Club were faced with a dilemma. Do we tidily weed our gardens or do we allow these native plants to flourish because they are well-liked by pollinators (dandelions, germander speedwell), or are good for butterflies to lay their eggs on (nettles, garlic mustard), or provide nesting places for birds and hibernation sites for butterflies (brambles and ivy)? Susan also suggested that we leave at least some of our lawn to be uncut and we might be surprised what springs up – Susan found a wild orchid. Alternatively, you can scarify or remove a section of turf and sow wild flower seeds – it could just be a small patch.
Non-weed plants that benefit wildlife include mixed native hedges (buckthorn is used by brimstone butterflies), honeysuckle (for moths), scabious (for many pollinators), primrose (for bee-flies). Be aware that some ‘pollinator friendly’ plants at non-organic nurseries may have been sprayed with pesticides!
Less of a dilemma was the introduction of a pond. It helps to have a shallow edge or ‘beach’ for easy access by amphibians and also some marginal planting such as water mint or purple loosestrife. The wildlife, including dragonflies and newts, will find their own way there. But don’t stock it with fish as they will gobble them up. Also, log piles and ‘bug hotels’ allow insects such as ladybirds and cardinal beetles to overwinter, and compost heaps do the same for slow worms and grass snakes. Blogs written by Susan Simmonds can be found at https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/blog/-susan-simmonds. Nigel H