Supporting wildlife and biodiversity not only means providing suitable habitats but also making sure those habitats are joined together. THAT IS WHERE GARDENS COME IN. There are 23 million gardens in the UK with 433,000 hectares, which is bigger than all our nature reserves put together. We are asking everyone in Ugborough Parish to:
CAN YOU TICK ONE THING FROM EACH COLUMN?
We will be organising events throughout the year to support WildLink, including plant give-aways, insect/bee nest making, wildlife walks, garden visits, and providing lots of information about how simple changes in food, water, shelter, and management can have a huge positive impact on biodiversity in our community.
Wanted – recycled plastic plant pots for seedlings.
Wanted – people to grow plants from seed for give-aways.
Wanted - Offers of pollinator-friendly plants from seeds or cuttings.
Can you share your knowledge of wildlife gardening?
Can we feature your wildlife-friendly garden or garden feature?
Let us know how you are getting on, if you need any help with making your garden more wildlife friendly and for offers of help with WildLink, however small - please email -
Bittaford and Moorhaven - Jackie
Ugborough and the rest of the Parish - Susan
MYWILDLIFE POND by Jackie Andrade
Ponds are great for getting up close to nature. We spend countless hours looking at ours because there is always something happening. Blackbirds fuss around it in the winter, waiting for us to break the ice so they can bathe and drink. Now in spring, it is the centre of their battles for territory. Smaller birds visit to wash in the shallows. Below the surface, palmate newts are looking for mates in the sunlit areas of water, the males with their characteristic back feet that look like they are wearing black gloves. Water snails are getting busy, keeping it clear of fallen leaves, and caddis fly larvae are starting to build tubular homes from intricate mosaics of tiny pieces of stone or leaf. By summer the purple loosestrife and water mint will be humming with insects. We have watched spectacular dragonflies lay their eggs in the damp mud around the reeds, bats swoop low to catch insects, and hedgehogs come for an evening drink. One day, a beautiful grass snake silently slid into the water and looped its way across the pond.
Our pond is about 5 feet wide but even tiny ponds have value for wildlife. One day I tripped over an old washing up bowl and got my own back by burying it in the garden and filling with rainwater. By the time I’d put a couple of stones and a water plant in it, I had counted five different robins eagerly waiting to claim it as their own.
According to the Devon Wildlife Trust, half a million ponds have been lost in the UK over the last 100 years, filled in because we no longer need them for washing farm horses or digging marl to lime fields. An aim of the WildLink project is to recreate the lost web of watery habitats with a network of garden ponds. Could you do wildlife a favour and make a pond this weekend? If you do, we’d love to hear about it. What creatures will you see first?
MY WILDLIFE GARDEN by Graham and Sylvia Wilson
When we first moved to our house in 1990, we seeded the garden with meadow grass and since then we have always given it a light touch. All the wildflowers have appeared naturally, and we do not use fertilisers or moss kill. Our current mowing regime is once a month with pathways cut more frequently. Simply by reducing mowing frequency and letting our garden grow a little bit wilder has made a huge difference to the wildlife in our garden.
Primroses abound in in spring, they are entirely self-seeded, and nature has only needed a light touch to enable them to thrive. We have many clumps throughout the garden, and it is a joy to see them. They start to appear in January and are at their best in March. Bluebell shoots start to appear in February beside our house and flower nicely in April. They always look particularly healthy and are self-sufficient. We planted a copse about 20 years ago with native species trees. Snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells and wild garlic now form much of the ground cover. These too are self-seeded. Later in the year, early purple orchids gently appear in small numbers, and we have a clump of cowslips beside our patio. Bird’s foot trefoil has made a recent appearance and inhabits the outer reaches of the garden.
I would encourage everyone to become involved with WildLink as we have discovered that nature rebounds with energy if it is given space to do so.