Happy New Year from the Wild Bunch! It’s not started off too happily for wild flora and fauna that can’t swim! It’s the monsoon downpours of the last few weeks that unnerve me personally, but it’s the volume of water and the floods which will be doing the most damage.
In parallel – and not unconnected – it’s way, way too warm! I know that means the heating bill will not be as great, but in Wild Land it’s causing havoc. We walked up Cley Hill on New Year’s Day (now I know what MUD is) and right at the top the gorse is blooming away. My snowdrops are competing for attention with primroses. Soon insects will emerge to find their normal food sources have flowered and gone, then not long after the birds planning to nest arrive, looking for the insects. More immediately troubling for humankind is that over a third of our crop production is pollinated by insects.
There are two things we can easily add to the New Year- not just for this year, but for ever: Firstly, work to create environments where insects can thrive: Great compost heaps, untidy areas of garden, less digging in the veg plot. Secondly, avoid spraying plants in your garden with insecticides and never ever spray flowers. You can usually blast off any troublesome insects (like aphids) with water, and pick off anything larger, or remove whole leaves if they have large infestations. And, if your soil is healthy enough (back to great compost) then the plants will often thrive, outrunning any pests.
There is a PS to not using insecticides as add. Keep an eye on our government! Although the rest of Europe has banned many of the worst chemicals – like neonicotinoids – the UK government has a habit of re-licensing them.