Tag Archives: garden

Does feeding garden birds do more harm than good?

Goldfinch and red poll on garden feeder

The BBC reports the regular feathered visitors to the bird feeders I hang in a particularly lovely tree outside my kitchen window are a welcome dose of colourful nature in a sometimes repetitive daily schedule. So the suggestion that my conscientiously topped-up supply of “premium mixed wild bird seed” is anything other than a positive boost for local wildlife has come as something of an unwelcome surprise. But evidence has been building recently that supplementary feeding could disrupt a delicate ecological balance beyond our windowsills and gardens. 

Campaign calls for UK ban on pesticides in gardens and urban areas

The Guardian reports a leading insect expert has called for a UK-wide ban on the use of pesticides in gardens and urban areas to protect bees, wildlife and human health. Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at the University of Sussex, said outlawing chemical spraying (…) could slow insect decline by creating a network of nature-friendly habitats where insects can recover.

Your bird feeder could be messing with the natural pecking order

Eurasian blue tit photo by Shantanu Dutta under creative commons

The TimesiNews, and Daily Mail report the peanuts may be supplied with the best of intentions but your bird feeder could be wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem. A study suggests that the spoils of bird feeders are not being divided fairly, with blue tits outcompeting more timid woodland rivals.

By analysing the droppings of blue tits in Scotland, researchers could gauge the impact of feeding by humans. Nest box occupation increased from 25 per cent in areas where no human-provided food was present in birds’ guts to about 75 per cent where it was.

Slugs and snails expected to re-emerge this weekend

Snail photo by jamieanne under creative commons

iNEWS reports unseasonally late frosts have been keeping them at bay in Britain’s gardens but slugs and snails are set to return at the weekend with a vengeance.

Warmer conditions combined with scattered showers offers them ideal conditions, just as gardeners are tending their prized seedlings and garden plants are putting forth tender, and a to a gastropod, highly munchable fresh shoots.

It all adds up to, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is warning, a perfect slug storm for gardeners. Nevertheless, the RHS is urging gardeners to go easy on their most traditional of enemies.

Wasps may be hated – but they’re actually one of our most valuable species, study finds

Wasp photo by Pictoscribe under creative commons

iNews reports wasps may be the most hated creature in the garden but they are actually among the most valuable species around, a study has found. Researchers have conducted a major investigation into the 33,000 species of wasp and concluded they are the most unfairly maligned insects in the back yard. They conclude that wasps deserve to be just as highly valued as other insects, such as the much loved species of bees, because they play a key role as pollinators and as predators – keeping the insects they eat further down the food chain in check…

Garden centres ‘failing to stop peat sales’

BBC News reports leading garden retailers are still failing to stop the sale of peat in compost despite pressure from the government and campaigners. The Wildlife Trusts said only one of 20 retailers contacted said it would eliminate peat from its shelves this year.

The restoration of peatlands is a key part of the government’s strategy to mitigate the impact of climate change. Highly absorbent, it also helps with flood prevention.

However, one peat producer told the BBC that since lockdown there had been a surge in interest in gardening. Demand for peat was “unprecedented” and there was currently no viable alternative.

Pampas grass might be having a style revival on Instagram, but it is a threat to wildlife, experts warn

iNews reports once a staple of a 1970s garden, the pampas grass has burst back into fashion as a favourite of the Instagram generation. The plant’s dried fronds have made a comeback as the ultimate interiors accessory, with fans even resorting to stealing it from coastal beaches to get their style fix. But although pampas grass might be a trendy alternative to a vase of fresh flowers, it is no substitute for native grasses on UK coastal dunes, experts warned this week.