Back in April 2020 Lorna Howell was due to give us a talk on her garden, Lukesland. However, lockdown meant that all meetings were cancelled, so instead we ran a feature on it in our first newsletter. Her talk was again cancelled in 2021—but this May John Howell came and tell us all about their garden, which was started in the 1860s and it has now been in John’s family for three generations since the 1920’s.
Also in May a group of garden society members visited Lukesland by train, and it was a lovely day out amongst all the spring flowers.
How can we become more wildlife aware in our gardens? Following the 2019 State of the Nation Report which showed a continuing decline in biodiversity, making our gardens and allotments important pollinator hot spots.
He has some hints and tips to help gardeners like us to be more wildlife friendly:
• Make your own compost and leaf mold or if that`s not possible then definitely buy peat free.
• Be aware of invasive plants impacting wild spaces by disposing of plant material responsibly, such as Himalayan Balsam.
• Use organic pest controls instead of chemicals to maintain a biodiversity garden. There is a movement now in not calling some insects pests as they can be either food for other insects or predator on others, so actually beneficial to gardeners.
• Increase your garden connectivity by introducing nest boxes, bat boxes, or a hedgehog highway by cutting a space in the fence for these creatures to roam freely. With mammals in mind, think about the timing of when you cut or trim hedges and what lives below or in those rich habitats.
• Providing different habitats for nesting sites for bees for example and planting trees and shrubs with berries for birds. The average garden has around 2000 species of nectar rich plants – insects usually prefer open single flowers rather than closed double forms.
there is a wealth of information on the RHS website and on gardenorgainic.org.uk