Overlooked Urban Nature: the Surprising History of Some Early Spring Flowers

Overlooked Urban Nature: the Surprising History of Some Early Spring Flowers

Guest post by Miles King of People Need Nature

Early spring is possibly my favourite time of year. Day by day, Nature comes back to life in front of us. For me, it lifts my spirits. Even in this most bizarre winter, when the winter didn’t look like it was going to arrive at all, but finally did so in early March. But of course as the sun gets ever stronger, the cold nights quickly disappear and beautiful warm sunshine greets me as I let the chickens out first thing in the morning.

Nature survives at the margins

Today I found a particularly pleasing, though very small, sign of spring – Whitlow grass (Erophila verna) flowering here in Dorchester. Read more

A Passion for Badgers: One of Britain’s Youngest Wildlife Watchers Goes Wild Nearby

A Passion for Badgers: One of Britain’s Youngest Wildlife Watchers Goes Wild Nearby

Guest post by young wildlife expert Alex White.

Sat amongst the bluebells on a late spring evening, a gentle breeze tickling my nose, I am waiting for the first black nose to appear. It is a moment of excitement, tension and a little bit of apprehension.

Every creature is just settling down for the night, blackbirds are singing their final song, wood pigeons are flapping about high in the branches, looking for their roost for the night. Through the trees I can see a couple of roe deer silently moving in the dimming light. Read more

How to Start a Native Wildflower Meadow [6 Easy Steps]

How to Start a Native Wildflower Meadow [6 Easy Steps]

In the UK we have some amazing native wildflowers. Unfortunately, we have lost a staggering 98% of our wildflower meadows and their poetic beauty since the 1930’s. This means that few people have seen an authentic one which is resulting in fashionable, highly colourful, non-native, perennial ‘meadows’.

This crucial loss is impacting on the many populations of bees, butterflies, pollinating bugs and birds who depend on UK native wildflower rich meadows which they co-evolved with. The simple act of sowing the right wildflowers can make a huge difference to wildlife and to your well-being. Read more

My Early Nature Connection; Home, Play and Special Mentors

My Early Nature Connection; Home, Play and Special Mentors

Guest post by Ginny Battson.

Most of my life has involved nature as my adventure. I ask myself why. My connection with non-human lives has been a constant ember within me, aside only during a period of traumatic bereavement, another story. I acknowledge this bond was securely founded in early childhood.

I think it came in two main parts.

Firstly, I was fortunate to live, play and imagine among nature with effortless ease, growing up in a particularly biodiverse corner of North Herefordshire. It was a hamlet of a few houses dotted around a hill, but mostly of woods, streams, tracks and open common land. Read more

Connecting With Nature Through Places

Connecting With Nature Through Places

Guest post by John Aitchison

From a presentation given for New Networks for Nature’s ‘Nature Matters’ event in Stamford, England, November 2015

For more than twenty years I have lived by the sea in Scotland. My children have grown up with otters as their neighbours and, more recently, with re-introduced white tailed eagles too. They’re as pleased to see them as when they bump into their friends, which is just as it should be. It’s a place we feel we belong.

To walk on that shoreline is to play back some of our own history: one rock makes me smile at the memory of a picnic we had there, when my daughter found a long heron’s feather and put it in her hair. In another place I stand again where I once did at midnight, after heavy snow, entranced by the full moon that lit up the land as far as I could see. Read more

Jo’s Mini Meadow 6 – Bring the Magic of the Wool Carder Bee and Leafcutter Bee Into Your Life and Your Garden

Jo’s Mini Meadow 6 – Bring the Magic of the Wool Carder Bee and Leafcutter Bee Into Your Life and Your Garden

I am amazed to discover there are over 270 bee species in Britain and Ireland and that bumblebees and honey bees only account for about one tenth of that figure. The wool carder and the leafcutter bees belong to the Megachile (leaf-cutting bee) group.

Both the wool-carder and the leafcutter are solitary bees. They nest in walls, as well as in dead wood and bee hotels provided by us. Wool carder bees also nest in hollow stems whereas leafcutters will occasionally use soil, twigs and the hollow stems of brambles. They are impressive engineers, magical to watch and this year my dream of seeing a wool carder bee came true. Read more

Jo’s Mini Meadow 5 – New Arrivals in the Orchard Meadow and a Mini Meadow Surprise

Jo’s Mini Meadow 5 – New Arrivals in the Orchard Meadow and a Mini Meadow Surprise

The new orchard meadow has been a constant source of delight, awe and wonder from my very own kitchen window this spring and summer. With growing joy, I watched the plants beginning to flower that set seed last year. Their pollen and nectar attracted many solitary bees and bumblebees, including the fascinating Wool-carder Bee for the first time. Read more