Holly Blue butterfly —by Janice Gill

How does my Garden Grow?

In 2018 I wrote weekly about my garden and all the visitors I got, birds, insects, mammals all had their days alongside the plants.

Since then I’ve moved house. I no longer have a large and diverse garden on the edge of the Peak District but have an average town garden, surrounded by houses. The front of the house sports a supposedly low maintenance gravelled area with a couple of shrubs in it. The rear garden is mostly laid to lawn.

Visitors are few and far between — a close cropped lawn is pretty much a desert as far as wildlife is concerned.

But we are doing our best to change all that.

Firstly, we are rewilding an area around a very old pear tree. A pile of logs and twigs will hopefully attract insects and possibly a hedgehog. Wildflowers are already returning — the much maligned dandelion is a massive boost to bees and other insects, nectar and pollen rich.

Secondly, I’m planting flowers in the beds that attract and support bees, butterflies and other insects. For the most part I like to use perennials as closely related to the natural fauna here, in the UK, as I can. Lavender, Sedum, Oregano, Scabious, Sea Holly, Hyssop etc are all finding a home here.

Thirdly I am investing in fruiting shrubs and trees. This benefits the pollinating insects at blossom time as well as providing us with fresh fruit that hasn’t arrived from far flung countries of the world at massive cost to the planet.

This June Berry (Amelanchier Canadensis)provides a welcome early blossom for insects waking from hibernation. It will crop in June (no surprise there) producing deep purple berries that look similar to blueberries.

The Holly Blue at the top of the page, spotted while I was setting seeds, was a lovely surprise. It not only feeds on Holly, but also the Ivy I had left to flower and set fruit.

This will be a regular set of articles on growing for the planet — increasing biodiversity and reducing my impact on the planet by growing at home. I hope you will join me on this new journey,

Janice x

Award winning Artist and Photographer still learning and evolving. Blogging the journey.

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