Nature has some wonderful delicate colours. Below the delicate pink of Shining Cranesbill, Geranium lucidum.
Next, collection of daisy, speedwell and pignut flowers
And here the speedwell in more detail.
And finally the delicate green and whites of cow parsley.
One of the best plants for bees is comfrey. It has a long flowering season which provides food throughout the spring and summer.
Blossom, such as apple or cherry blossom, is another great food source.
Herbs (e.g. sage, oregano, thyme) are also great for bees.
Vegetables often rely on bees for pollination, including runner beans, courgettes and many others. Allowing brassicas to flower can also provide food for bees.
Wild native flowers are also important for bees too. So having some in your garden is a great asset.
A celebration B to Y
So here in Ireland we should be celebrating Biodiversity week. Usually there would be lots of events on, but of course with lockdown things are postponed or cancelled. But we can still celebrated online. For me it is a week to celebrate our wonderful biodiversity. So I want to start with a celebration of garden biodiversity as it is right outside our door. Just by providing a little bit of wildness in our gardens we can provide homes for some wonderful creatures. (All the photographs below have been taken in my garden).
Our wildlife pond supports frogs, newts and damselflies to name just a few.
We have four nest just on our house alone – two starling nests, a swallow’s nest and one wren’s nest. The young starlings from one of the nests fledged over the weekend. Below are photos of the adults who have been very busy finding food.
Flowers – native and cultivated provide food for pollinators. More on bees on Wednesday world bee day.
Wildflower meadows and wilder areas provide homes for a myriad of insects, and the insects and the seeds of the flowers in turn, feed the birds and small mammals.
A little bit of wildness may also attract some mammals to the garden. We had a hare visit this weekend (photo on left taken by my son).
If you live in Ireland look out for online activities this week.
There is a Backyard Bioblitz from May 22nd – 24th
There is a #LoveNature campaign to share all the things you love about nature.
If you are outside Ireland check out the UN page on biodiversity day.
If you read this blog regularly you may remember a couple of weeks ago I was talking about oil beetles. Will today, we discovered some carrion or sexton beetles. Now if you are in any way squeamish you may not want to read the rest of this post. The name sexton beetle comes from the British words sexton of a church – some one who would look after a graveyard. It turns out that sexton beetles are natures undertakers.
Sexton beetles will use dead mice, shrews or birds to lay their eggs in. If you look in the photo above you can see two or three beetles under the shrew.
Here the shrew had the misfortune to meet it’s death on a gravel track (probably by a feral cat that we saw hanging about today). If the body was on soil the beetles would bury their find after laying their eggs in it. Also usual among beetles is that both parents will mind the young. We are pretty sure that this one is the Nicrophorus vespilloides. I have read that the clubs on the bottom of their antennae are black while other similar species are orange.