Hi this is Simon from the Wild Bunch with our latest column.
‘Gardening for wildlife’, our strapline, means just that. “But you enjoy it!” was one challenge. Well, yes, but the best enjoyment is not seeing what you sow grow but what nature contributes, with plants and creatures. The joy of having a dragonfly give you a wing waggle, spitfire-like, through the window; a goldfinch fledgling trying out a teasel for the first time; a hatch of pond fly rising in the evening sun; and a wren popping into the house to check us out, bring enjoyment beyond measure.
Our mission is to create wildlife ‘stepping stones’ across town, linking the countryside on either side. The Wild Bunch recently gathered in Broadway Allotments, a glorious wilderness of ripening apples, rosebay willowherb, struggling vegetables. We were told that the spring birdsong is heavenly, and a feeble, out of season chiff-chaff told us it was true. Much of wildlife gardening is leaving it to nature, and an active badger sett is clear evidence of that.
Perhaps the beaver lodge in the south of the town, is the best example of ‘live and let be’. Having beavers back after 400 years absence is exciting enough, but did you know beavers, now a protected species, have been in Frome for at least five years and there are over 55 beavers in the Avon catchment, including our river? Mainly nocturnal, beavers go about their business when we are asleep, coppicing trees, digging channels and tunnels, building dams to create lakes and reed beds, and constructing warm, dry lodges above ground with the entrance hidden underwater. We can only marvel at their ingenuity and learn from their skills – how to clean our river water, avoid flooding, and bring back wildlife including fish to our wetlands.
Don’t be surprised if, one night, you meet a beaver by your garden pond!
Join the Wild Bunch to find out what you can do to support our wild neighbours – visit the Wild Bunch page.