The Observer reports artificial lawns are higher maintenance than the adverts will have you believe … and they’ll burn your feet in this heatwave
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.
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.
The Guardian reports the Royal Horticultural Society has just awarded a gold medal to a garden full of ragwort and other weeds – and there are some clear benefits to letting nature take its course.
The Times, iNews, 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.
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.
iNEWS provides an opinion piece in which Chris Packham writes: I think you have to take an active hand in terms of managing any amount of space. Even if you are going to allow a square metre of your garden to go to wildflowers, then you need to get rid of that lawn grass and sow some wildflower seeds. Simply neglecting it is not the answer.
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…
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.
The Daily Mail reports Monty Don, long-running host of BBC TV’s Gardeners’ World questions the need to give lawns such a close shave. He also suggests that banishing weeds from the groomed grass is ‘a male obsession, linked to controlling rather than embracing’.