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BIODIVERSITY IN A SMALL GARDEN

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  • JennyJ said:
    Done :)
    I probably wouldn't spend anything on a product specifically to encourage biodiversity but that wasn't an option. The bees, bugs and creepy-crawlies seem happy with my flowers, shrubs, trees and compost corner without any specially-designed things. A few years ago I had a swarm of bees in my hedge for a few days, so presumably they thought my garden was a good place to rest until they found a good hollow tree or similar.
    I forgot to put that as an option... ooops! Thanks for your feedback! As I have to create a product at the end of my project (which will come with a cost) I'm also looking into what plants I can add to my design and what upcycled materials I could use which might bring the cost right down. My teacher also suggested more of an instruction manual approach so instead of a product I give out instructions which people can then complete themselves, meaning they can spend as much or as little as they choose.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 12,242
    Small vertical ponds are great for nurseries and play areas for small children. Our local community garden uses them as a safe wildlife area, built next to a nursery. They are deep, so can have really quite interesting water planting, but high enough and narrow enough that nobody can fall in.

    Water areas and mosquito life is a tricky question for building wildlife areas. A lot of people are very allergic to mozi bites (like me) and other wildlife does nothing to keep the numbers down. It's pretty off putting for the idea of putting in ponds if you have a small garden. In London we have loads of mosquitoes all year, even without ponds.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 4,958
    edited November 2021
    I'm in the no-ponds camp too, because I react badly to mozzie bites, but there's a house with ponds two doors down from us and there are a couple of big ponds in the woods nearby so I don't feel too bad about it.
    I think the main things that encourage wildlife are a wide range of planting, with some "undergrowth" and cover like hedge bottoms that accumulate leaf litter and twigs, and borders that are fully planted without bare spaces in between plants (one they reach mature size - you need to allow room for things to grow). Lots of insects seem to live in the compost bins too, as well as the worms. Basically, don't be too tidy and things will find their places.
  • Fire said:
    Water areas and mosquito life is a tricky question for building wildlife areas. A lot of people are very allergic to mozi bites (like me) and other wildlife does nothing to keep the numbers down. It's pretty off putting for the idea of putting in ponds if you have a small garden. In London we have loads of mosquitoes all year, even without ponds.
    JennyJ said:
    I'm in the no-ponds camp too, because I react badly to mozzie bites, but there's a house with ponds two doors down from us and there are a couple of big ponds in the woods nearby so I don't feel too bad about it.
    I've done a little research and methods that prevent mosquitoes (without the use of pesticides) are to keep the water moving - mosquitoes prefer stagnant water - and planting certain plants that have natural pesticides, like citronella, mint, rosemary etc. Have you guys tried either of these methods (and do they work)? I personally don't have a pond and I'm not allergic to mosquito bites but I'd rather not have a garden filled with them :lol:
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 12,242
    Moving water does nothing at all to deter them. I put in a fountain for that reason, in a small pond, and the mozzies seemed to love it. It's by a rosemary bush. Lol.
  • Fire said:
    Moving water does nothing at all to deter them. I put in a fountain for that reason, in a small pond, and the mozzies seemed to love it. It's by a rosemary bush. Lol.
    Oh no :lol: Maybe it mostly depend on where you actually live, I live in B&NES so maybe it's not such a problem here? Or maybe it's about how close you live to a river? I live on a hill so maybe it's harder for mosquitoes to settle. Seems like I'll just have to accept that my product will attract some mosquitoes but keep the aquatic section to a minimum so it's not overflowing with them...
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 12,242
    I don't think it's to do with rivers or hills. There are over 30 mozi species native to the UK; They very adaptable and will happily breed in an inch of rainwater in a bucket, a drain or gutter. London has mozis more or less year round as we are fairly far south and it's warmer and not buffeted by coastal winds. Perhaps some areas of Scotland don't get this.

    When people get bitten it's not the bite itself that irritates the skin but a human allergy to mozi salvia - this causes inflammation and itching. My theory is that many people are getting bitten all the time but don't notice it as the bites don't trigger an allergic reaction. They don't swell up.

    With climate heating of the UK, new mozi species are likely to arrive and control issues will become more pressing. There is concern that arrival of diseases like dengue fever (now in Europe) could lead to political pressures to drain wetlands.  Evolving clever bio-sensitive mozi management approaches will become ever more valuable here.

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 4,958
    Err... I have a different problem with the sound of moving water in the garden (and I think it's also less good for non-mozzie wildlife but I could be wrong on that). So no water features for me (other than water butts with lids for collecting rainwater), but I appreciate that others like and want them.
  • B3B3 Posts: 20,024
    I take the untidy garden approach, purely for reasons of biodiversity of course😇
    In London. Keen but lazy.
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