Time to stop biodiversity decline

IF BEES die off, they're taking us with them!" Frightening headlines to shock us into action, or home truth for self preservation?!

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Over the past 20 years, 28% of the plants, 56% of the birds and 76% of the butterflies in Britain have declined in numbers. Many believe we are now facing a Sixth Extinction event (Elizabeth Kolbert; Bloomsbury, 2014). The fifth was 66 million years ago when the dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the earth.

'Doing our bit' for the environment is often portrayed as the "friendly" option, when in reality it's a necessity. Insect hotels, hedgehog homes, log piles and nesting boxes are appealing wildlife-friendly additions found in most big name garden centres.

But some of the best ideas of how biodiversity can be enriched in your own backdoor are cheap and simple.

There are 10 ways my family and I changed our own garden when I moved into our new house in Glasgow.

1: Planting nectar rich plants which bloom earlier and later in the year for hungry Queen bees, eg spring heathers and sedum.

2: Avoiding mowing the grass till the dandelions have flowered, then giving my wee boy 1p per dandelion clock to pick them all (He made nearly £5 pocket money).

3: Placing a bird table at our back window with seed & peanut feeders.

4: Burying an upturned plastic bin lid, flush into the ground with water in it.

5: Allowing the wild strawberries

and raspberries to self seed under the privet hedge.

6: Erecting a bird box and insect home on the back high fence.

7: Creating a natural woodland flora area under the existing rowan tree, by scattering seeds collected from my local park i.e. red campion, lesser celandine, ramsons and wild primrose.

8: Planting three new, smaller trees in our front garden, one for each person in our family; we chose our favourites, a paper Birch, Aspen and a dwarf Pine (Pinus mugo).

9: Avoiding pesticides, instead mulching the borders in spring every year to suppress weeds. It works a treat and I weed once a year.

10: Gradually replace my plants with those which are RHS approved as "Perfect for Pollinators". There are more than 400 ­garden and wildflower varieties, so you're not limited for choice or by pocket.

Go to http://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation- biodiversity/wildlife/encourage-wildlife-to-your-garden/plants-for-pollinators

Afterall, more than 70% of our birds depend on insects which in turn, depend on plants.

Home and Garden

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