• Have you got this gentle giant in your garden?

    A couple of weeks ago I did a blog about the delicate little Marmalade Hoverfly. So I felt I just had to show you this  'beast' I photographed in my garden yesterday.

    At about 19mm long, this is Britain's largest resident hoverfly. A few people call it the Hornet Hoverfly, for rather obvious reasons, but most books stick to the Latin name - Volucella zonaria.

    In fact, this particular individual has been…

    • 30 Aug 2010
  • A wildlife gardening job for a very wet day!

    "Yes!" I cheered, on hearing that it was going to pour it down.

    The thing is, my pond has been getting choked with Hornwort. It's that furry underwater weed a little bit like a green feather boa. It's a brilliant oxygenating native, but liable to go a bit rampant.

    And when that happens, any stems that are just under the surface are lush and green. But any that are trapped deeper in the water are…

    • 27 Aug 2010
  • Joe Pye and the Butterflies

    The title sounds like the name of a 1960s pop group, but this is all about my plant of THIS week - Joe Pye Weed.

    It's a perennial, native to eastern USA, and grows to six foot or more high, with these architectural purple stems and deep pink clusters of small flowers. It is apparently named after an Indian healer who used the plant in his potions.

    And you'll have noticed that last weekend I managed to photograph…

    • 25 Aug 2010
  • Wildlife Friendly's Garden Showcase III

     So here we are third and final installment in what I hope you agree has been a privileged look into Wildlife Friendly's Devon garden. If anyone would be up for showing us theirs too, just pop a comment at the end and I'll get in touch. I realise most people are  shy about this kind of thing, but I hope the joy of sharing with - and inspiring - others makes you consider it. Far better than just seeing my garden…

    • 23 Aug 2010
  • Wildlife Friendly's Garden Showcase II

     And so here is Wildlife Friendly's second installment, and what a mouth-watering range of wildlife and flowers her garden supports...Oh, and I must point out before I take false credit, all the photos are hers too! Adrian

    Wildlife wows:

    • Grass snakes (right) breed in the compost bins.
    • Frogs, Toads, newts, dragonflies, damselflies, diving beetles, plus a whole host of other aquatic creatures breed in the pond.
    • 20 Aug 2010
  • Wildlife Friendly's Garden Showcase

    I'm thrilled that for this and the next two blogs, Wildlife Friendly - who so regularly responds to this blog - has kindly agreed (I asked very nicely!) to show us her garden. If you like what you see, I'd love to hear your comments. I for one think she is doing an amazing job and am so grateful she has found the time to put this together. Adrian

    Location: Devon (¼ mile from the river, elevation 5m)


    • 18 Aug 2010
  • The Magic of Marje

    One of the key ways in which I get inspiration about what to do in my garden to help wildlife is to get out there into the best bits of the countryside to see what wildlife is doing there.

    And right now in mid August is probably the best time to see butterflies strutting their stuff, with the greatest range of species on the wing.

    So last weekend I went for a walk on my local chalk grassland National Nature Reserve…

    • 16 Aug 2010
  • Night-time Pearl in the garden

     Phlyctaenia coronata. No, I hadn't heard of it either! But there is was in my garden, by the light of the torch, supping away at my Hemp Agrimony flowers.

    Fortunately, a gentleman called Jim Porter recently decided to give all the micromoth species found in the UK a vernacular name to complement the Latin name, and so - if you want to - you can now call Phlyctaenia coronata by the rather more accessible name of …

    • 16 Aug 2010
  • Garden plant of the moment

    Do you find that, at any given point in the year, there's a plant that is most definitely flavour of the moment in your garden? It's the place that you know you can guarantee you will go out and see some kind of wildlife action.

    Well, this is mine at the moment - lavender. Or more specifically, English Lavender Lavandula angustifolia. My five plants are of one of the larger cultivars, now about four years old…

    • 13 Aug 2010
  • A giant for the bees

     Earlier this year, John from this blog sent me a photo off his phone of a plant in The Lodge herbaceous borders that was covered in bumblebees. It looked like a yellow scabious, and I thought it might be Scabiosa ochroleuca, but it turned out to be this, Cephalaria. It was a plant I had heard of but never seen being used in a garden before.

    So it was interesting to bump into it again this week in another garden near…

    • 11 Aug 2010
  • Lashings of Marmalade in the flowerbed

    One of the many things I love about gardening for wildlife is that it encourages you to look harder. It is a terrible distraction from actually getting on and doing some gardening, but I find that I want to check out what each creature is that passes by, and to gauge what it is doing.

    And yesterday in my garden was all about insects. Bumblebees, Honeybees and butterflies were all present in numbers, but it was the hoverflies…

    • 9 Aug 2010
  • Joyous corridors

    Top marks to my local council - in fact I might email them to congratulate them, in the hope they keep doing good things for wildlife even through the 'financial climate'.

    The thing is that they've gone and converted what was a fairly barren piece of grass which runs in a broad strip along the middle of a city-centre avenue into two parallel herbaceous borders.

     It' s a work in progress, and all I could…

    • 6 Aug 2010
  • Aster la vista?

    Pick up any book about gardening for wildlife and you will find Asters mentioned in them. But as well as providing nectar for butterflies (and enlivening autumn borders), Asters are also rather prone to getting mildew, which in my often-baked garden is something of a problem.

     So for the second year year I've been trying an Aster that is readily available in garden centres, is said to be more mildew-resistant, an…

    • 4 Aug 2010
  • My berry-testers have arrived!

    Over the last three weeks, my Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) berries have begun to flush with colour, a little suffusion of orange increasingly glowing across the dangling clusters. But when would they be ripe enough for wildlife?

     Well, help arrived this weekend to let me know. And here she is (left) - my first berry tester of the season.

    In fact, the berries look a little unripe to me, and don't seem to come away without…

    • 2 Aug 2010