Composting, Conservation, Planting, Stuart, Wildlife

Earth Day – 22nd April 2021

Marking the birth of the modern environmental movement, Earth Day is an excellent annual reminder of the importance of Mother Earth. We can all do our bit to help the planet, but everyone needs to join in to give Earth its best chance.

Here are a few ideas to give a go this Earth Day, from composting to planting trees and a few things in between.

From household binning to composting

Green Johanna Compost Bin

If you’ve got a garden – don’t throw your food waste into a regular waste bin. Make the most of a compost bin (if you have one) and start making your own plant food. If not, you can either get one or make your own with pallets, old bins or buckets.

With any luck your local council authority will provide food/garden waste bins to use if composting isn’t an option, but if they don’t you can contact your local councillors to convince them to move with the times.

Check here to read a beginner’s guide to composting.

Local clean up

OCG group cleaning up a beach

Grab a bin bag, throw on some marigolds and get out there, grabbing any plastic, crisp packets and discarded rubbish you can see. Fill a bag, fill two bags – whatever you can clean up out of nature will save some wildlife down the road.

Most plastics, metal and glass won’t break down in the wild, proving a threat to all sorts creatures (including humans) for hundreds of years unless cleaned up and processed.

Switch to the Ecosia search engine

Ecosia Logo

This one’s the easiest of them all, and one simple change can start planting loads of trees. If the average person searches 3-4 times a day, within 10 days they can have helped plant a tree through Ecosia.

It’s just as good as Google at your everyday searches, so add it to your chrome or change your bookmarks to get Ecosia-ing and start planting trees every day.

There’s even a nifty little counter that shows how many trees you’ve helped plant:

Ecosia Tree Counter

It might not seem like a lot, but that’s 9 trees that wouldn’t have been planted if this writer had stuck with Google or any other search engine.

Take care of garden visitors

Supporting the ecosystem keeps the world turning, and there are lots of steps you can take to look out for whatever wanders through your garden.

Digging a pond, putting down a hedgehog home, hanging bird feeders and installing pollinator-friendly habitats will all help  your garden visitors thrive, which in turn will help our planet stay in balance for as long as possible.

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now”

Flamingo Willow

It might be a slight paraphrase, but this Chinese proverb has never been more apt. Every little bit of greenery you can get in the ground will push back against deforestation, whether man-made or through devastating blights and pests.

Get a tree, dig a little hole, add a bit of compost, put in the tree then fill the hole back in. Water well and then you’re on your way to a brand new tree and a bit of Earth-saving.

Earth photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash
Clean-up photo by OCG Saving The Ocean on Unsplash  

Conservation

World Wildlife Day Logo 3 March

World Wildlife Day has become one of the most important events dedicated to wildlife. In 2021 it’s taking place on the 3rd March, and here’s everything you need to know about what it is and how to take part.

What is World Wildlife Day?

Started by the UN on 20 December 2013, World Wildlife Day celebrates and raises awareness of problems facing wild animals and plants. Every year the day has a new theme that shines a spotlight on one area of environmental need.

What’s the theme of World Wildlife Day in 2021?

In 2021 the focus will be Forests and Livelihoods. Across the world, the spotlight will be on schemes and initiatives that help preserve our forests and support the 200 and 350 million people who live in or around them. In the Uk, the focus is on conserving and protecting our declining woodland species.

How big is the problem of declining UK species?

The 2019 state of nature report found that 41% of all UK  species have declined in numbers since the 1970s.

Of these, 26% of mammal species are at risk of extinction with the hedgehog seeing a 95% drop in population.

Pollution, loss of habitat and climate change are the biggest reason for the reduction in biodiversity, and it only takes small changes to have a significant impact.

What can I do to help?

Each garden is a part of the larger ecosystem around it. Looking after the plants and wildlife in your space will improve all the outdoor areas around you and create a place teeming with life. There are some simple steps you can take that will have a significant impact.

Help Pollinators

Pollinators are the natural world’s backbone; they keep plantlife growing strong, helping all the wildlife around them. But three bee species have gone extinct in recent decades, and the rest are at risk of extinction. Plant wildflowers and install bee homes or shelters to give your local pollinators plenty of food and places to rest.

Find out how to garden in a bee-friendly way.

Insect Habitat and Nectar Feeder

Browse Pollinator Care

Give a Hedgehog a House

Hedgehogs were once called ‘gardeners friends’ because they eat slugs, caterpillars, beetles and other pests. Having them in your garden benefits plants and crops, but they are in decline with estimated numbers dropping from 30 million to just under one million since the 1950s. The best way to help our prickly friends is to give them a space to hibernate and raise their little hoglets safely.

Hedgehog homes

Browse Hedgehog Care

Look After Wild Birds

Birds help to control pests, pollinate plants and keep our forests healthy by spreading seeds around. Like all wildlife, both native and migratory birds are at risk from urbanisation and pollution, but you can help them year-round by giving them food, shelter and water.

Bird Feeder, Bird Care Box, Bird House

Browse Bird Care

It only takes little steps to make a big change in your local area. Show us what you’re doing in your garden this World Wildlife Day on Facebook or Instagram with #MyPrimroseGarden for a chance to be featured.

Animals, Birds, Conservation, Wildlife

From the 29th to the 31st of January the RSPB is holding its 2021 Big Garden Bird Watch – your chance to discover the wildlife on your doorstep. And all it takes is an hour of your time. 

All you need to do to take part is :

  1. Choose a time 
  2. Count the birds you see in your garden over an hour period
  3. Submit your results here 

It’s the world’s largest bird survey and by getting involved, you are helping to uncover the secret lives of British wildlife. 

Why You Should Get Involved

British birds are in decline – since 1979 the Birdwatch has recorded the decline of several bird species. By getting involved, you can help track the trends and help conservationists reverse the trend. 

It’s a fun way to get in touch with wildlife –  Every garden is different, and getting to know the unique wildlife in yours is a great way to getting the most out of your outdoor spaces.

What might you see this year?

  

House Sparrow

 

One of the most common birds in the UK.  Found in 63% of gardens

 

Robin

 

The most recognised bird – 83% recorded seeing one in 2019

 

Dunnock

 

Only found in 43% of gardens, this beautiful bird is in decline. Can you help find where it’s thriving?


 

Waxwing

 

One of the more elusive birds in the country, the waxwing is out there, but can you find it?

 

 

 

Goldfinch 

 

 

This small bird is common but hard to spot. Can you be one of the 34% who did see one last year?

 

Blue tit

 

Seen by 77% of people, this common bird is drawn to a well-stocked bird feeder.

 

Starling

 

The fantastic speckles of the starling might not be around much longer. They’ve seen an 80% drop since 1979.

 

Wren

 

You’ll hear the wren before you see it, and only 21% did in 2019 – spot them near woodlands.

 See what you can find this year, and see how your garden stacks up against the rest of the nation.

Sign Up Now 

 

Alice, Animals, Conservation, Gardening, Organic, Wildlife

Bees are highly beneficial creatures, responsible for pollination an estimated 80% of the western diet. However, due to attack from the varroa mite and agricultural pesticides, their numbers have been in steady decline. British gardens cover a combined area estimated at over 10 million acres, and as agricultural land becomes less bountiful for pollinators, they are becoming increasingly important in conserving bees and the environment as a whole. So here are some eco-friendly gardening techniques for bees you can use to help preserve pollinators and the planet.

eco-friendly gardening techniques for bees

Go wild

An immaculate garden is great for impressing the neighbours, but not so great for wildlife. To encourage bees and other wildlife, allow your garden to grow a little wild, with overgrown shrubs and climbers, leaves, and dead stems. It is a good idea to allow an area of your grass to grow long, which will allow wildflowers to grow and increase insect diversity. Allowing a few weeds to flourish also provides food for insects.

Choose open flowers

Bees need flowers to feed on the nectar, and how accessible the nectar makes a big difference. Open flowers such as daisies, or any set on a “bobble” such as thistles are perfect. Unhybridized species tend to be a richer source of pollen than elaborately-bred show blooms. Bees also love fruit trees, flowering trees, legumes, blackberries, and ivy. Growing a variety of species is also important for attracting a diverse range of wildlife.

Avoid chemical pesticides

Pesticides and insecticides can be highly efficient in disposing of unwanted pests, however, these chemicals do not discriminate, and will also destroy many beneficial organisms. Alternative methods to protect your plants include using copper rings or beer traps to deter slugs; covering plants with fleece or netting; and encouraging pest-eating animals such as birds and hedgehogs into your garden. Companion planting can also be highly effective. Garlic, dill, chives, borage, basil, and nasturtium are good pest deterrents, and planting spring onions near carrot plants can deter carrot fly.

Composting

Peat-based compost and synthetic fertilisers are damaging to the environment, as naturally-occurring peat bogs absorb a great amount of carbon dioxide, and the process of making synthetic fertilizers can emit CO2. Making your own compost is an eco-friendly alternative that has the added advantage of recycling your household waste. You can compost leaves and other foliage; grass and wood cuttings; dead plants and shrubs; leftover food such as vegetable peelings; and old newspaper, cardboard, and paper. Avoid any diseased plant parts, anything sprayed with pesticides, or pet waste. You can use a ready-made compost bin, create your own using a metal bin or plastic bag, or simply pile up the compost material. Composting is also great for wildlife as it enhances the bacterial and fungal life in your garden.

Eco-friendly water

Not only can a garden water supply be great for wild birds, but it is also important for bees. A garden pond is ideal, but otherwise, you could put out a bucket or tray filled with water. There are some great eco-friendly alternatives to lessen the demand on mains water. A water butt can store rainwater, which is great for watering plants as it is chemical-free, and it can also be used for filling your wildlife drinking area. Add rocks, or floating plants or wine corks to give bees a safe place to land. For watering plants, you can also purchase a greywater diverter to reuse water from your kitchen sink, showers, and baths.

Bee Hotels

Many species of bee are on the decline due to lack of suitable nesting areas, so a bee hotel is a great way to help bees in your garden. These handy homes provide a sheltered area for rainy days, along with purpose-built tubes for female bees to lay their eggs. You could even build your own bee hotel with bamboo canes. Place in a sunny area facing south to the south-east at least a metre off the ground, and watch as bees come to stay.

20th May is World Bee Day, so make sure to get involved and spread the word about the plight of garden bees. You can read more about bee conservation here. You can also let us know what eco-friendly gardening techniques for bees you have been using on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram