The Little Mix of a Garden is situated on the ground floor of a new building completed in 2019. When we started, this space in a new development, had almost zero wildlife activity – the occasional visit from a fox, but very little else. Our first thoughts were to create a food growing garden but we also wanted to make room for wildlife. So we looked at ways to tempt birds, bees, butterflies and other creatures, to visit and set up home here. Long-term trends show that 80% of butterfly species in the UK have decreased in abundance or distribution, or both since the 1970s (The State of the UK’s Butterflies 2022 Report | Butterfly Conservation). Another recent report found that UK’s flying insects have declined by 60% in the last 20 years (UK’s flying insects have declined by 60% in 20 years). These are shockingly high statistics. Reasons for these declines include climate change and habitat loss.
We wanted to do something to help, however small our intervention, and started by planting for butterflies and bees. We chose plants which provide nectar, for example the Red Campion in the photo above provides an early summer source of nectar for butterflies and bees and others that provide food for the larvae of some butterfly species such as the leaves of the Common Sorrel you can see in the foreground. We planted Bird’s Foot Trefoil in lots of places because it provides both food for larvae and nectar for pollinators. We’ve noticed it’s a real survivor in prolonged drought conditions. We planted these and other pollinator-friendly plants in early March. We used a mix of plugs and 9 cm pots. We will soon add a list of all the wildlife friendly plants we have included in our containerised, urban, new build Little Mix of A Garden, on to our website so please keep an eye out for that . We now need to monitor activity to see if our planting made a difference.
Here are some resources we used: