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07 December 2019
We seem to be at a tipping point

The penny has finally struck, we cannot continue to exploit our planet at the current rate. This raises inevitable questions such as what can little me do about it? What’s the point when whole countries pump out more greenhouse gases than I could ever influence? Apart from being defeatist there is something we can all do and get an immediate benefit. A bird table helps but you need the whole ecosystem including plants, and shelter, then the insects and invertebrates will come and the rest will follow.

Here are simple 4 tips but I think most people forget the second two:

Using Chemicals
Just don’t. Apart from loss of habitat do we really know how many slug pellets have inadvertently killed and continue to kill our hedgehogs and song thrushes? Make your own compost, its free, it has no chemicals and it contains all your local bugs – perfect. I truly believe that one of the reasons we have become too liberal with chemicals is we don’t have a proper fork or spade to hand – dig it up don’t spray it.

Tidiness
Our farmland overall is pretty sterile, look at a field of Autumn sown barley or wheat, nothing much lives on it, our gardens are an oasis for diversity so don’t be too keen to tidy them up. Leave the herbaceous stems through the winter. I have goldfinches feeding on my Michaelmas daisy seed heads right now. Leave rough grass around established trees, a robin nested on the ground underneath this larch earlier this year.



Shelter
Too quick to burn all your pruned branches or cuttings, why not leave them in a pile somewhere to overwinter. Wood mice will be grateful and they in turn bring in the owls. Remember the cold weather beats down plants and there is always less shelter in the Winter just when animals need it most. So the compost heap overflows a bit but whenever I go there I can see where animals have been scratching around. Grass snakes use it in the summer to lay their eggs and maybe they hibernate in there?



Plants
I have just planted some Rowan and Crab Apples trees with our Groundbuster spade what a joy. These will provide food for the many winter thrushes we get like Fieldfares and redwing. We also have about 10 blackbirds in the garden every Winter which are not local and probably come from somewhere on the continent, they all need food. Use native plants where possible and have a mix of conifer and deciduous.
 
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