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Wild Garden

Banner Cross Wildlife Garden

As part of our commitment to becoming an eco church the Church Council approved plans to include an area for a wildlife garden. At the beginning of 2017 a small area of the lawn was marked out for a wild garden. This has been left uncut for some time and “wild” species are beginning to move in. Although this space has been dedicated a wild garden the rest of the outdoor area can be considered a wildlife area.

To improve the wildlife value of our outdoor space, bird boxes have been installed, together with a bird feeding station. At the Eco Church Open Day visitors were shown the allotment that has been created at the side of church. To improve the habitat for beetles and other mini beasts a Bug Hotel was created by church members and visiting children. A photo of this can be seen on the church website together with some of the sightings.

We have also installed a compost bin and wormery to encourage the numerous species  that are required to improve the soil. When the compost is applied it will encourage larger “animals” into the grounds.

In order to monitor the impact of our efforts to encourage wildlife it would be helpful to us if people could make records of what they see within the grounds and submit them to a member of the Eco Group. A photo would be even more useful, so that the record can be verified.

I have been recording sightings since 12 June 2017. There is plenty of activity in the garden but one needs to be there at the right time. In the “wild” garden I have seen the four stages in the Ladybird cycle – Egg, Larva, Nymph, Beetle. I was disappointed to find that they were all Harlequin Ladybirds which were first introduced into this country in 2004. The Harlequin has a broad diet but predates other ladybirds and could wipe out some of our native species. These ladybirds also feed on the aphids in the “wild”garden, which are feeding on the Broad-leaved Docks. If the Docks were cut there would be no aphids and less food for the ladybirds. This area is a gain for wildlife. Two Ragwort plants have also grown in the wild garden attracting the distinctive black and yellow Cinnabar Moth caterpillars.

Andrew Watchorn 

August 2017

 


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