Gardens & Insects
Global declines in insects have sparked wide interest among scientists, politicians, and the general public. Insects make up 2/3 of all life on earth and German scientists say numbers of flying insects are in rapid decline with a 76% decrease since 1987. This decline is feared to provoke cascading effects on food webs and our ecosystem services. The precise cause for decline in insects is up for debate from a number of reasons such as changes in climate and changes in behavioural acts from insects, also changes in landscapes are among the list. This decline is apparent regardless of habitat type, while changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics cannot explain this overall decline, but are a contributing factor. Environmental acts say to improve we need to plant using fewer pesticides and create more farmland borders with space for flowers.
Our gardens are our sanctuary, a place where we can escape into our own little patch of nature. We pride ourselves in the time and effort it takes to make our backyards one to really show off, but to ensure our garden remains impeccable it’s important to keep it healthy.
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy garden is to familiarise yourself with the common garden pests and diseases but to also understand how important bugs and insects can also be as well as the type of planting and hedging that you use.
The healthiest of gardens have many types of bugs which do a sterling job in all sorts of ways, from helping to decompose plant matter, enriching the soil, to aiding with pollination, letting your plants blossom. Not every leaf spot, scab or miscolour is an indication of a pest infestation or fungal/bacterial disease – some symptoms are as a result of planting conditions or environmental stress. It’s important to understand this to stop the misuse of pesticides and to spot early signs of pests or diseases, as precautions can then be made to prevent any unwanted damage and the sooner a pest or disease is identified, the easier it is to eliminate.
Plants are full of “nanotechnology”, which is a secret signal the plant gives to insects and especially bees on their pollination quests but it also enables them to do all kinds of amazing things, from cleaning themselves to generating energy.
It’s tricky to know what you can fully do to help the ever-changing demands of our eco-system but we can suggest a few things such as planting wildlife-friendly hedging which will flower from spring until late summer dependent on variety and attract bees and butterflies. To protect young plants we suggest rabbit guards, clear plastic spiral guards which have ventilation holes – these will prevent rabbits damaging the plants and allow them to flourish. To help with the growth of your plants, on planting we suggest using Rootgrow which is only needed once for the plants entire lifetime. It contains Mycorrihizal fungi which enables plants to extract nutrients and absorb moisture more efficiently helping to achieve a more successful and productive growth. See the full range on our website.
In light of this new data on the decline of insects, it’s nice to see we do have a new species of moth visiting our gardens. Unusual moths from Europe including the scarce silver-striped hawk-moth and Radford’s flame shoulder have been seen in recent days, along with immigrant species such as the convolvulus hawk-moth and the humming-bird hawk-moth. These moths are particularly attracted to Ivy which can provide a lifeline to moths, butterflies, bees and other pollinators, as it flowers late in the year when other sources of nectar are not available.