New episode soon...
And our first ever podcast meetup is this week!
It’s been two months since our last episode but a new one is on the way, check your podcast apps Tuesday! We will be discussing the fabulous book, ‘The Garden Jungle’ by Dave Goulson which is packed with useful advice for wildlife gardeners, and some challenging information about pesticide use in horticulture. It has certainly got us thinking about the plants we bring into gardens. In the episode, we will hear a few minutes of audio from Dave, recorded during the recent Wildlife Garden Forum Symposium. If you can’t wait until then, you can watch or listen to the full audio from all the speakers on their website Talks Jan 2023 (wlgf.org).
It’s too early to say spring is on the way, but colour is starting to fill our gardens. Aconites, Crocus, Daffodils, Cyclamen and Snowdrops are all in their prime. These early blooms and winter flowering shrubs are vital for early flying pollinators. We’ve seen some whopping bumblebee queens on the move in the last week, making the most of these easy meals while scouting for new nest sites.
Bird pollination in the UK?
While eating our lunch today, we were mystified to see a loosely trimmed Yew puffing out smoke like a chimney. On closer inspection, there was a flock of Long-Tailed Tits nearby, flitting from tree to tree in search of tasty morsels. Every time one flew into the Yew it shook a branch, causing the Yew to release clouds of pollen from its flowers. It was a still day and Yew is wind pollinated, so there’s no doubt the Tits were doing a fabulous job of giving the Yew the nudge it needed to pollinate other trees in the area. Without Hummingbirds and the like, we don’t think of UK plants as being bird pollinated. But if you want a Yew tree covered in vibrant red arils come autumn, it seems like a flock of Long-Tailed Tits could be your friend!
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Our first ever podcast meetup is this week! Here is all the information you need:
On Sunday 26th February we will be visiting the fabulous winter garden at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire and you are invited. The garden is world renowned for its breadth of planting which brightens up even the darkest winter days. We will meet at 10:30am by the visitors centre, just inside the garden, come rain or shine.
The meetup is simply a chance to visit a beautiful garden in the company of you lovely listeners. No need to sign up in advance, just pay your entry into the garden on the day. Good news is that RHS members get free entry through the partner programme in February, and Gardeners World magazine subscribers get 2-for-1 entry with their discount card. Full details can be found on the website Tickets and prices | Hampshire County Council (hants.gov.uk)
As this is our first meetup, we are making things as simple as possible. Make your own arrangements for food and drink; there are plenty of options on site or you can bring a pack up. After a few hours in the winter garden we will stop for lunch, then wander around the rest of the site in the afternoon. Whether you stick with us or go your own way is up to you.
We have no idea how many of you will join us, but everyone is welcome! For full details of directions, pricing, disability access and more, visit the website here Sir Harold Hillier Gardens | Hampshire County Council (hants.gov.uk)
The weather looks OK so far, if a little frosty in the morning. Look out for a face like this:
Our garden birds are already pairing up and are looking for places to nest. So we don’t disturb them in the spring, now is the time to cut your hedges. Over the years, we’ve come to adopt a particular technique which we would encourage everyone to follow. Divide your hedges into three or four sections, and cut one section hard each year. We mean right back to the bare stems. This encourages bushy growth, while providing space for regrowth without getting in your way. Leave the rest, as amongst the leaves, stems and leaf litter are countless eggs, larvae, chrysalises and flower buds all hanging on for the spring. If we cut all our hedges back each year and dispose of the waste, we get rid of all the creatures which have made the hedge their home.
The next newsletter
That’s it for this edition of ‘The Wild Garden’. Next podcast has a discussion of ‘The Garden Jungle’ and an in-depth look at Holly as our native plant of the month. Coming up in March there will be more seasonal advice and the first guest interview this year. We’re very excited to be back at the Natural History Museum with one of their scientists, an expert on pollinators and the power of citizen science. To find out who, you’ll just have to tune in! Until then, join us if you can for our meetup and enjoy the first flowers of the season.
Ellie and Ben
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