Natural nest boxes

We had to remove the hollow stem of a rowan as it was damaging a listed building. Rather than let this great resource for wildlife go to waste, we sectioned it and used the hollow logs to create nest boxes. The smaller branches will be turned in to mini bat boxes (pip parking places).

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Meadows- Yellow rattle

Yellow rattle is a parasitic plant that draws much of its energy from the roots of grasses. This weakens the grass, making it easier for flowering plants to compete. I’m using it in this orchard in combination with strimming to control vigorous grasses such as Yorkshire fog. Strimming the grass and removing the cutting, help remove nutrients from the soil, this favours less vigorous grasses that wildflowers can compete with more easily such as sweet vernal grass, sheep’s fescue and crested dog’s-tail.

Yellow rattle is also a great source of nectar for bees.P1060386

Green roofs- sticky catchfly

I’m very please to have recently received planning permission for and installed this green roof on a property in Stirling. I have increased it’s biodiversity value by using a 10cm plating substrate and choosing species of regional botanical relevance in particular sticky catchfly of local provenance, an amber listed (near threatened) species that grows in the wild with in 1km of the property. A beautiful pink flower, often associated with volcanic geology, sticky catchfly is threatened by over grazing and scrub encroachment.P1060368

Autumn Nectar

Chives are a great source of autumn nectar for bees and butterflies. Cut them back after they flower in the spring and they will flower again in August/September. They look great in a flower bed with other globular flowered plants of about the same hight. I like to mix them with globe flowers.

You can buy chives cheaply as potted herbs in most supermarkets and split the clump to make 3-4 plants. As an added bonus they are great cooking herb and are very hardy and easy to grow.

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Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar

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Found wandering on our drive this weird looking caterpillar was looking for somewhere to pupate. It will turn into a beautiful green and pink moth. To encourage moths and butterflies in your garden you need to provide good nectar plants and food plants for caterpillars. Butterflies also benefit from stones in sunny spots to bask on. Honeysuckle is good nectar plant for hawkmoths, it is pale in colour and scented at night so they can easily find it. It also provides large volumes of a weaker (less sticky) nectar than many bee pollinated flowers which means the nectar can be sucked up quickly while the moth hovers to feed. The caterpillars feed on a range of flowers including common garden plants like Fuchsias.