Biodiversity in our gardens
Biodiversity is becoming an ever more important subject as many species and habitats are under threat and need any assistance possible. This fact has been taken on board increasingly by the Tidy Towns organisation and many other bodies to help educate and enlighten people as to its importance for all of us.
As part of our efforts we have looked at ways of maximising the participation of as many people as possible to make the biggest impact without a huge demand on our time and resources. Most households in Ardclough have a garden or garden space, however big or small. This presents an opportunity for almost all people, in the areas, to take part and use this resource to make a valuable contribution to local biodiversity.
We would like to encourage everyone to keep in mind this subject and incorporate it in their gardens as much as possible and remember that, just one plant in one pot can help. The aim is to secure food and habitat for native fauna such as insects, birds, bats and land mammals by way of foliage, bark, nectar, fruit and seeds, etc.
Smaller gardens. These are suitable for nectar bearing flowers to assist the already under threat bee species and both native and non-native species can also be used here. Also possible could be some smaller shrubs which can attract butterflies, moths and birds.
Medium gardens These are suitable for larger shrubs and possibly some trees. Here, it is best to use native plants as they provide the most benefit for other native species. However, some non-native food bearing species of shrubs could also be used. By using just one tree and a couple of native shrubs of different heights you can create a semi woodland or hedgerow like habitat in your garden.
Larger gardens These are suitable as in medium gardens but also offer an opportunity to create a definite woodland habitat using native trees. Here, many native species of insects, birds and mammals will be in action as well as the plants themselves and the habitat will sustain itself. In large gardens or farmland habitats there may be areas that can be left wild and plants that otherwise may have been cut back could be left untouched as these can be extremely important.
If you are planting, here are some plants you could consider which are good choices for biodiversity.
Flowers for spring. Bluebells, Primrose, Cowslips, Flowering currants, Forget me nots, Hellebore
Flowers for summer Sweet pea, Aquilega, Campanula, Foxglove, Potentilla, Snapdragon, Fennel.
Flowers for autumn Aster, Sedum, Globe thistle, Lavender, Cornflower, Fuchsia, Phlox, Scabious.
Shrubs native Holly, Hazel, Hawthorn, Honeysuckle, Blackthorn, Elder, Gorse
Shrubes non native Cotoneaster, Pyracantha, Berberis, Ceanothus, Buddleia
Trees native Oak, Birch, Willow, Rowan, Crabapple, Alder, Aspen, Scots Pine, Ash
Wild Areas. If possible leave plants such as wild Roses, Brambles, Ivy, Nettles, Elder and Thistles untouched as these are very important in biodiversity terms. Such areas may also be suitable for spreading native wild flower seeds.