Across the rec

 Nature Notes 

 Review of 2021  


 Meadow Maintenance 

 Sweet Chestnut 




 Stag Beetles 

 Hay Meadows 

 Goat Willow 


 Winter Trees 


 Take it easy 

 Falling Leaves 

 Horse Chestnut 


 Pollinator Patch 

 Bird Song 


 Garden - May 

 Garden - Apr 

 Birch Trees 

 Rotting Wood 





 Sowing Seeds 

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Time to take it easy - Nov 2020


November and time to tidy up the garden ready for the winter? Well, that certainly used to be the practice. Everything cut back, swept up and neatly tidied away, in preparation for the following year. But for the wildlife in our gardens, being ultra tidy is about the worst possible thing, depriving them of safe spaces in which see out the winter months.


The fact is that if we want the butterflies, birds and hedgehogs to share our space, we need to take care of them all year round. And in order to survive the winter, wildlife relies on us having a more casual, laid back approach to gardening. Hollow plant stems, fallen leaves, long grass, log piles and other organic debris provide ideal conditions for a variety of overwintering creatures. Hedgehogs use fallen leaves to create a warm nest in which to hibernate and log piles make ideal hiburnacula for frogs and newts.


But these animals and our garden birds are all reliant on a healthy supply of insects, and that’s why we’re adopting a relaxed approach to managing the Pollinator Patch (central bed) in the Rec. The reason that we haven’t trimmed everything back and tidied up, has nothing to do with Covid, or inertia on our part, it’s intentional and we hope, insect friendly!


There are a few insects that are active throughout winter, but most going into a type of hibernation known as diapause, which is a period of suspended development. This happens at different stages of the life cycle according to the species. Some overwinter as eggs, others as pupae and some as adults, but all require somewhere safe and secure until the warmer weather and lengthening daylight indicate it’s time to emerge.  It’s our intention, that by leaving this year’s perennials to die back naturally, we’ll provide winter quarters for some of our beleaguered insect friends. Then we’ll set to and tidy up in the spring, by which time they will hopefully have dispersed.


Insects really do need as much help as we can give them. The charity Buglife, the only European organisation devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates, highlights the catastrophic worldwide decline in our insect populations. Those of us who are old enough will realise that loss by reference to the ‘splatometer test’.


We remember the days when a summer trip out in the car resulted in a windscreen almost obscured by the number of insects that were unfortunately killed. And various studies using the splatter rate have confirmed what we instinctively knew, namely that there are far fewer insects around. Buglife is running a campaign called No Insectinction in an attempt to halt the decline which, as they say, is essential for the future of our planet.


So we can all play our part. Store away those secateurs, put your feet up and brew a cuppa. Then delight in the sculptural beauty of the rime on the spent seed-heads and get that inner glow of satisfaction knowing that you’re making a contribution towards securing the future of our planet. Not a bad afternoon’s work!!





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