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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Truth About Wildlife Gardening...in Sheffield

I just picked up a little book in a charity shop the other day because it mentioned wildlife gardening and I wanted some wholesome retail therapy.

I didn't expect much, I thought it would be very light and fanciful. But it turned out it was a fab piece of popular science writing, about a study done in Sheffield on the wildlife in ordinary gardens. It's charmingly written but I especially like it because it's based on scientific research and it declares the limitations of its own statistics.

In summary it says that they found out that using 'native' plants in Britain has no effect on the amount of wildlife. Including nettles - which have a mythological status when it comes to wildlife gardening but apparently this is bunkum.

Native is a very slippery concept anyway. But there are some things which make a huge difference, consistently in different locations.

In summary, these are the top ways to maximise your garden biodiversity:

1. Grow trees (or at least shrubs, if you can)

2. Have a compost heap

3. Have a pond (this can actually just be a window box or tub with water in it)

4. Don't use pesticides

5. Leave dead wood and leaves, etc, on the ground

6. Let the grass grow long (so butterflies can lay their eggs)

These are the ways to boost the biodiversity to the max in your garden.

I recommend buying the book if you would like to find out more details on improving your garden's biodiversity, either from Amazon or the reused books shop Greenmetropolis.com.

Ah! You might ask...but why should I increase biodiversity?

Well I will expound upon that topic in a later post...you will just have to sign up for emails if you want to find out some reasons....or visit the NHM website about biodiversity. (Did you know 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity?)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Capital Growth Member 0423

The Pensford ecosystem/wild/edible garden has been officially accepted onto the Capital Growth scheme member number 0423.

This scheme, run by the London Mayor's office and various social and environmental organisations, means I get some free advice and they also sent some chive seeds and an outdoor sign.

In the pack I also got a gardening catalogue and some ads for gardening services of various kinds. They are, to be fair, highly relevant and usually discounted, however it does look a bit like a marketing scheme as well as a positive endeavour.

My mission is to try to get wildlife and biodiversity up the list of priorities when it comes to growing. Alot of times there may be good wildlife areas being destroyed in order to grow veg and this is not something I would want to happen too much.

It would be best to see veg being grown in places where nothing is growing already, so come on London, dig up those car parks and pavements, restore your front garden to earth and life. And stick a green roof on your house or shed, add living walls and make the place green again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Plants recorded in TW9

The Natural History Museum has this interesting list of plants recorded in the local area. You can use it anywhere in the UK - just type in your postcode

Lots is going on this spring at the anotment and will be making several posts in the next few days... including:

- Wood blewit and alexanders pasta with wild garlic pesto
- Capital Growth scheme numer 0423
- Kids Art and Nature club starts - saturday mornings at 11 ages 7 and up
- lots of planting and rapid growth
- making a honeysuckle fence
- Bicycle Botanist video series to be launched