Garden Wildlife

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Not all of the wildlife in Cumbria can be found in the rocks and mountains.

Small garden beasts should not be systematically eliminated because they often have a beneficial effect on the garden. By eating other insects or creatures, they limit the damage that these small animals could have done!

Nature is well made, as they say! The garden is the territory of small animals which it is better to try to attract rather than eliminate because they will help you to fight against the attack of others more harmful: for example, to favor the presence of ladybirds will limit the proliferation of Aphids on your rosebushes, or attracting birds will probably avoid caterpillars invading your kitchen garden.

All this small garden fauna is a valuable balance for nature and biodiversity. Discover your friends, useful auxiliaries of the garden!

Insects and other useful fauna in the garden

Spring, the nectar-producing flowers attract butterflies (cardamom, girofle, valerian ), and in summer, insects feed on scabies, thyme, oregano … The buddlĂ©ia is certainly remarkable, but it has the defect To be invasive : it must be turned down severely by cutting the faded flowers, which avoids the dispersion of its seeds. Feeding the butterflies thanks to the nectar of the flowers is fine, but let us think of their caterpillars which also consume vegetables: grasses for satyrs , nettles for stinging nettle , carrots and fennel for the swallowtail, cruciferous For the periwigs , legumes for zygens and lycenes .

Keep a space of wild herbs and nettles. The ragwort, for example, is home to the yellow ringed caterpillar of the blood- dappled butterfly, euphorbia feeds the superb sphinx- horned caterpillar, bryony is home to a vegetarian ladybird , while the meadow cardamon and the albarium Watercress or aurora .

If maintenance is required, always proceed in stages by keeping wild patches that allow the animals to shelter and recolonize the environment. Do not leave all mowing residue in place, export it to the compost because many wild plants prefer poor, non-fortified lands. Besides the possible destruction of animals and the discomfort caused by the smoke, the burning of the plants deprives you of a host of useful small recyclers such as worms, willows or larvae of ketones . The main cleaning is mostly done in the autumn, but it is true that a plot of land aired in the spring will favor the development of annual plants. Thus the poppy, a species of messenger, that is to say of the harvests, delights in the stirred soil. In June, mowing another part of your grass will allow a regrowth of young leaves, more appetizing for the caterpillars.

The tenants of the pile of wood
The hedgehog, a valuable ally of the gardener
In the first row, prior to piling the logs into a heap, place a space of about 45 x 25 cm with a corridor to the outside to facilitate the passage of a hedgehog. He will bring the necessary dry leaves to his bed himself. A plastic sheeting, placed over the pile of wood , will keep the shelter dry. The logs remaining in contact with the soil will undergo a slow degradation under the action of moisture. Mushrooms, beetles such as small hinds are established in the wood, as well as small capricorns . Their exit holes are the happiness of the solitary bees that pile up the pollen vital for their larvae. Others, like the xylocope or the carpenter bee , dig galleries in the softened wood by the action of the mushrooms.

Construct a low wall or hedge
Besides its decorative aspect, the dry stone wall offers numerous cavities favorable to small wildlife, the lizard of the walls and the orvet for example. Banish the joints of earth or cement: rather block the whole with small stones. Solitary bees and bumble bees nest in the cavities while spiders and snails take their retreats. Mullets and voles pile up their provisions at the base. In the evening, a little fluttering scream signals the presence of the toad accoucheur . If you are planning to build a wall at least 2 m high, book hollows in the high areas to accommodate birds such as the wren , red throat and wagtail .

Facing the monotony of the hedges of cedar or laurel, plant local species that will ensure in the spring the food of insect pollinators . The male dogwood and willows bloom in February, followed by the viornes , hawthorn ash trees, rosebushes , hawthorns , elders and finally ivy in September-October. The leaves of the blackthorn feed the caterpillars of the flaming butterfly while those of the lemon butterfly consume the buckthorn foliage. This shrub is very useful: birds build their nest, while at the end of the season, blackbirds , thrush musicians and finches of the trees will consume the fruits.

The installation of nesting boxes

With our mania of shaving everything and cleaning, we have deprived the small wildlife of natural holes. The installation of nest boxes will replace the hollow trees . Cavernous birds, such as tits , accept nest boxes closed. The diameter of the hole is large, 28 mm for the blue tit , 34 mm for the charcoal . Beyond 35 mm, we can see starlings that do not fear great. Semi-cavernous birds such as robins, redstarts or wagtails need larger openings.

Insects also frequent nest boxes . Long slits for the wings of the butterflies, rectangular holes for the bugs , round for ladybirds and chrysopes , or filled with straw for earwigs . Because it is important to favor pollinating hymenoptera ( andrene , solitary bees …), a block of wood pierced with holes of 2 to 8 mm is enough for them.

Let us not forget the bats that shelter in some nest boxes; Thus, a slit of a few centimeters is suitable for pipistrelle . To observe all these animals, treat yourself to slow walks, punctuated by many stops to take the time to look in detail in herbs and flowers where your new guests are frolicking.