I have always thought that my love for nature was born from spending time in the garden before developing this and going beyond the garden walls. With an ever expanding population crisis and urbanisation, more and more land is being turned into gardens. Gardens provide an escape for a lot of people literally on their doorstep and can play an important part in peoples lives. This was brought home recently when I realised that a close friend can only walk so far due to illness, making many places inaccessible to her. Yet access to the natural world is helping her get better. Therefore this post is dedicated to her and others that have limited access to the natural world. I don’t realise how lucky I am sometimes. There are people out there trying to help though including Accessible Countryside for Everyone and Birding For All.
But surely you have to go to nature reserves if you want to see lots of species right? Well no… I have been recording the wildlife in my garden for a few years now and have found 618 species without really looking too hard. You can see a list of these species here . To me that was fairly impressive so I decided to look into this further. Jennifer Owen, author and naturalist, recorded 2673 species in her Leicestershire garden during a 30 year period. Jennifer suggests that there would be 10000 insect species alone in her garden (which she describes as nothing special) if she surveyed further and more intensively. On a different scale Patrick Roper has been recording all the wildlife he finds in just 1 square metre of his garden – over 600 species so far! In all cases most of the species recorded are just passing through, however it is well known how valuable gardens are for wildlife and there have been many peer reviewed papers on this topic.
Back to the humble efforts in my garden though.. most of the species I have found in the last few years have been in ‘my area’ of my parent’s garden. This area was all gravel and was pretty sterile until I disturbed the seedback to see what would grow and sowed some more seeds and brought some more plants. I also installed a tiny pond, a log pile and provided lots of nesting sites for solitary bees and wasps . None of this costed very much at all but has given me an immense amount of satisfaction over the last two years since I took control of the top area of the garden.
Here are some of my favourite species that I have spotted in the garden:
Oh and I suppose some of the vertebrates were interesting too..
I hope this post makes you want to get out there and explore your garden or local green space. After all it is exactly two months until the Garden Bioblitz now!