This is the time of year we all start planning our flower beds and planting our summer colour. This year, perhaps I can encourage you to think about bees?
It may seem a bit odd to you that I would advocate encouraging bees that might sting your pets into your gardens. But you cannot have failed to notice that British bees are under serious threat. The way I see it, they are part of our ecosystem. Without them there is a real risk that food plants such as fruiting trees, tomatoes, marrows and courgettes will not get pollinated, affecting the cost of food in the supermarkets, as well as having far wider implications.
The Royal Horticultural Society has some excellent tips on how to garden in a bee-friendly manner. They also point out that the risk of stings is low, if one can avoid disturbing them. I generally only see stings on young puppies who have yet to learn what yellow and black stripes mean!
Their tips include planting nectar and pollen rich plants such as sweet william, jasmine and lavender; avoid using pesticides; make your own nesting sites for solitary bees and keep some shallow water available for them to drink from. There are lots more ideas at rhs.org.uk
And whilst we are thinking environmentally friendly, have you considered creating a hedgehog friendly area in your garden?
These delightful harmless little creatures are truly the gardener’s friend, snapping up slugs far more efficiently than any system we can devise. But they do need space to move about and forage. Could you allow a little space under your fences, so that a prickly commuter can move freely between your garden and your neighbour’s. The Wildlife Trust has some great ideas at wildlifetrusts.org/hedgehogs.
And this Easter weekend, let us not forget our patient pet rabbits. Bunnies are evolutionarily designed to eat almost nothing but grass. Now winter is over, it is time for our rabbits to get back to nature too, by getting them back out into their runs and on the grass as much as possible.