Keeping a healthy ecosystem
The "wild area" in our environmentally friendly garden is being managed as a haven for wildlife.
The Hub garden has more natural features than many other gardens today. It also has a good number of local plants and trees. These make it a natural oasis for insects and vertebrates that move pollen from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma of a flower (pollinators). This activity helps the garden to fill out naturally and produce fruit, which in turn attracts other wildlife, like frogs, newts, bats and different types of birds.
As part of our plan to encourage variety of wildlife, we are keeping this grassy area as a little wildflower meadow. We’re also giving nature a helping hand:
- A bird box for blue tits in the cherry tree by the shelter
- Three swift boxes under eaves of main building, opposite the shelter
- A log pile and bug house
- A pond in the meadow
- Beehives, managed by trained beekeepers
As well as boosting biodiversity, our eco-friendly garden is helping to tackle air pollution with plants like Lady’s Mantle. So, it’s also good for your health.
Bees are good pollinators so we’re keen to give them extra encouragement. The three hives in our apiary were purchased by Heather Forbes, Antony Byard, and Rachel Wales in memory of Dr Richard Wales. They are looked after by volunteer beekeepers.
Inside the hives, the females keep themselves busy making beeswax to build honeycomb, which holds developing bee babies, honey and pollen. At the height of summer, each hive will contain a full colony of honeybees: a queen, female worker bees, and male drones. Flying female workers come out to forage and gather pollen to feed the Queen and non-flying bees. Occasionally, you might see male drones clustering around the hive, waiting for the queen to make a seasonal mating flight. Their chances of personal success aren’t great, as there are hundreds of them and only one of her!
Eco-friendly gardening is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint. The steps we’re taking here include:
- Maintaining a compost heap, which is helping to reduce landfill waste and supplying us with natural fertiliser
- Encouraging birds and amphibians, which eat slugs, snails, caterpillars and other plant-destroying mini-beasts
- Keeping a pond, which improves air quality and helps plants and soil stay moist and healthy
- Collecting rainwater and using this for watering and topping up the pond