One of my (not very subtly requested) presents for Christmas 2019 was ‘The Garden Jungle or Gardening to Save the Planet‘ by Dave Goulson which has now become the first book I have read in 2020. The author is a Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex but don’t let that put you off: this is certainly not a dry scientific treatise. It is instead a heartfelt plea for us all to engage with and appreciate the fascinating eco-system existing right under our noses in our own gardens. Yes, we all love an Attenborough documentary showing us the wonders of the natural world in often remote and exotic locations, but what about the fauna outside the back door?Continue reading
Although I have always enjoyed watching the wildlife that visits our small urban garden, my efforts in terms of deliberately choosing to include particular features for its benefit has, to date, been fairly erratic. Having followed Kate Bradbury on social media for a while, I was keen to get hold of her new book, Wildlife Gardening for everyone and everything. This a short review for the interest of those who would like to find out more about gardening for wildlife. Continue reading
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling utterly demoralised by the frequent news stories on the continued degradation of the natural world. From the shocking levels of plastic pollution in our seas to the now obvious signs of climate change, and industrial scale destruction of habitats, it’s hard to avoid feeling hopeless about the planet’s current and future state. While it is clear that addressing these issues will require major policy changes on the part of governments and a shift in culture from big business I do believe that individuals can also make a difference by becoming more engaged and changing their own habits.
The recently released The Lost Words is a beautiful book which was developed following the decision to remove a number of words describing the natural world from the Oxford Junior Dictionary in favour of those deemed more contemporary. The book has rightly met with great acclaim as it seeks to re-engage children with descriptions of the flora and fauna many of us once took for granted. But it also prompts reflection on the loss not only of vocabulary, but also of access to the world which it describes for the increasing population of town and city dwellers. Continue reading
I recently published a blog on 10 Tips for Attracting Wildlife to your garden which started with “Feed the Birds”. This was soon after the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch in which the UK public is asked to submit details of the birds which visited their garden during one hour over a weekend at the end of January. The data is then used to evaluate bird populations across the UK. Inevitably during the hour we chose to undertake our birdwatch we had a single solitary Robin pay a visit and nothing else. Knowing that we frequently get a wider range of birds, and having recently enhanced the bird feeding area in our garden, I thought it might be interesting to conduct a slightly longer survey to see which visitors we see most often and in the largest numbers. This is a blog about the results of the survey which demonstrate that you don’t need a large garden, or to live in the countryside, to engage with wildlife. Continue reading