Mr Jeremy Fisher is my latest NBF! This frog isn't bothered a bit by me - he's watching me as I'm watching him!
Mr Jeremy Fisher is my latest NBF! This frog isn't bothered a bit by me - he's watching me as I'm watching him!

 

Every day I get the chance to watch some aspect of wildlife in my garden - and I often find it's watching me back!  It's wonderful when wild creatures learn not to be afraid of you and to trust you. This young frog has been living in my polytunnels since early spring and although it could easily go outside if it wanted to - it's clearly enjoying tunnel life with plenty of woodlice, small slugs and insects for food. Although it's so hot in there at times, I also always leave saucers of water around the tunnels for any wildlife that may need it, as wildlife is vital to the properly balanced ecology that I try to create even in the tunnels - and I almost never see any pests because I do this. Mr (or Mrs!) Frog doesn't mind me in the least and seems quite interested in what I'm doing. It often hangs around when I'm moving pots or watering tomatoes and other things - it probably knows that there will be plentiful woodlice and other insects underneath! I've named him Mr. Jeremy Fisher - as any child who was raised on Beatrix Potter's wonderful books would - and when I see this valued member of Nature's pest control army up close - I become a child again and am as fascinated as ever!

 

Despite the cold and miserable wet weather of the last couple of days - yesterday was a great day for wildlife watching - even sitting here in my work space at the kitchen table! Trying to get some writing done - I was pleasantly distracted by a female gold crest busily hunting for insects among the shrubs and climbers in the courtyard just outside my back door. At this time of year the top half of the stable door out of the kitchen is never closed and I have a lovely view down through the cherry walk right down to the very end of the garden. It's a constant hive of activity - accompanied by a continuous soundtrack of noisy sparrow chatter, chirruping and arguing all day long, and swallows catching insects and cursing at the dogs. It echoes among the surrounding walls and always reminds me of the house where I grew up.  It's so evocative, bringing to mind summers long past in  my childhood, others now gone and the garden where I spent many happy summers playing with all my animals, dogs, pomies, chickens and a very special duck called Esemeralda - who used to 'groom' my cat - nibbling along his back while he arched it in ecstasy! That's where I learnt to love wildlife. Although I was  a bit of an 'afterthought' and much younger than my brother and sister - I never felt alone or bored as many children seem to these days. There was always far too much to do and so many new creatures to discover and watch. I wish all children could have that grounding in the natural world - it would make such a difference to how they value it.

 

At this time of year the sparrow's chatter is interspersed by the sound of swallows, as they swoop in and out of the stables in the yard hectically feeding their broods. They often fly into the kitchen to do a recce in case there could be a handy nesting spot in here as well - but even I draw the line at that!  I'm constantly having to rescue baby swallows and sparrows that venture in thinking they can fly straight through to the other side of the house and through the window in the adjoining sitting room behind me. As I sit here I'm still surrounded by wildlife - even though I'm inside the kitchen! I couldn't bear to live in a world without birds and all the other marvelous creatures that inhabit our shared world. Because it is a shared world. It isn't ours - it was theirs long before we happened along. We are just the latecomers to the party, and sadly now the party-poopers!

 

After shutting up the hens last night I stood for a long time in the yard watching the bats - Pipistrelles - I think. They were darting and swooping around me - zig-zagging crazily this way and that, after insects attracted by the light coming from the windows of the house. Wondrous creatures that can sense exactly how far away you are even though they can't really see. I had a 'no fly' zone - an invisible protective wall - all around me even though they came quite close at times. I regretted that I had no camera but mine probably isn't fast enough to catch them anyway! As I stood there I couldn't help wondering if the people who make insect and bee killing pesticides ever spent time any in the natural world as children - out there experiencing nature? And are they now permanently cocooned in their glitzy, air-conditioned boardrooms, hi-tech laboratories and offices - insulated from anything remotely natural and having no respect whatsoever for nature - perhaps only valuing it when they find they can manipulate and then patent a part of it to profit from?? 

 

Fewer and fewer people seem to spend time outdoors now, getting less exercise while stuffing industrially made processed foods full of sugar and chemicals, manufactured God knows where! A Tsunami of ill-health that is waiting to happen! People were often actually far healthier after the deprivations of the second world war than they are now - despite the so-called 'advantages' of a more modern society and the welfare state. Sugar was rationed for a start - and only a very occasional treat. Many more people grew and cooked their own food then - and if you do that you can't possibly be disconnected from nature. So many people now only see wildlife on TV from the comfort of their sofas, while eating plastic-wrapped ready meals loaded with sugar and other junk. Is it any wonder there's a total lack of understanding of the damage we're doing to the natural world in every possible way - and also by association - then doing to to ourselves as well? Even if people are gardeners - the publications and media aimed specifically at them don't inform them properly or help them to understand the damage that we're doing to the natural world. Either the publishers and editors are are selfish and ignorant of it themselves - or they rely so heavily on advertising revenue from companies either selling or using garden chemicals that they are afraid to tell the truth that needs to be told. Many TV  'celebrity' gardeners court popularity and won't tell the truth either - conveniently skirting around the facts even if they do actually know them. Purely in order not to upset some viewers!. 

 

So is there really a bee problem? Yes!

 
Bumble bee pollinating Himalayan Giant blackberry flowers 15th July
Bumble bee pollinating Himalayan Giant blackberry flowers 15th July

There seem to be few wild honey bees about again this year - but thankfully there's hundreds of bumble bees of almost every possible size and colour which have been enjoying the abundant harvest of pollen provided by many plants in the hot weather over the last few weeks.  It's a real joy to watch them working, collecting the precious cargo of pollen on their hind legs and then carrying it back to feed their larvae. As usual - they've done a fantastic job of pollinating the ultra vigorous Himalayan Giant blackberry at the top of the vegetable garden - there's going to be a huge crop again to freeze for delicious winter smoothies and crumbles etc. The first ones are ripe already. The sound of the bees busily working is like listening to a swarm, the buzz is so incredibly loud!  It's good to know that that I'm helping them to survive by growing organically without chemicals and by providing not just plenty of habitat - but also food by cultivating so many nectar and pollen rich plants, both wild and cultivated. We provide them with healthy organic food - so that they provides us with it in return!

 
Bees really are such incredible creatures - and the more you learn about them - the more fascinating they become! They're even quite comical at times. There's one really tiny, all black bumblebee that makes a huge buzzing sound when it's try to collect nectar from flowers where it obviously finds the nectar or pollen difficult to reach as it's so small. It makes such an effort and works so hard. It's far louder than the bigger bumbles - it sounds just like an angry wasp stuck in a jam jar! The sound is caused by the rapid beating of the wings trying to power it forward deep into the flower.
 
 
Bees are so precious. Not only for the fact that they pollinate at least one third of all the food we eat - and another one third indirectly by producing seed.  Bees are also the equivalent of the canaries in the coalmines of old. They give us a immediate indication of just how healthy our habitat and food is too. They don't just pollinate our food - but can now show us in a seemingly much smaller way how any chemicals in that food may also be affecting us at a genetic level. This is because although honey bees are insects - and as such are much less complex beings than mammals and humans - we share many important genes with them, as we evolved from a common ancestor many billions of years ago. Four years ago, scientists at Nottingham University, studying the effects of neonicotiniod pesticides on honey bees, published research proving that even minutely low exposure to the 'supposedly safe' (according to pesticide industry tests!) neonicotinoid pesticides - at levels of just 2 parts per billion - definitely has a serious impact on honey bee genes, causing their central nervous systems to be affected in many different ways.
 
 
The problem is that many pesticides are tested from a baseline of sub-lethal doses - in other words - go beyond that dose and you kill something! They're never tested long term either individually or in 'cocktail' combinations with other pesticides. As I've often mentioned before - these 'cocktails' can have an amplifying effect of making each individual pesticide or fungicide many times more toxic than it would be on it's own, because it's combined with others. I don't think it's just a coincidence that there's been a huge increase in many diseases of the central nervous system in humans. Human trials can't be carried out as that would obviously be unethical - but there is still increasing evidence that this indeed may be the case. Supporting organic farming, gardening organically and buying organic foods you can't grow yourself are all ways you can help to preserve bees and other wildlife - and be healthier yourself too. Supporting the products of conventional chemical farming will hasten the decline of all biodiversity - including bees. There's more info about how organic farming helps bees on the UK Soil Association website - 

 
Neonicotinoids - so what's the problem?
 
 
These aren't just dangerous to pollinators! Many studies have recently been published which show they also kill soil life - in particular ground beetles which are a natural predator of slugs. This then leads to more use of metaldehyde slug pellets - since there is then a far bigger slug problem! Killing beetles and other insects then has an effect on the birds and other creatures higher up the food chain which eat them! In fact the study showed that neonicotinoid pesticides actually caused crop losses of 5% because of the dramatic increase in slug activity! What's the point in poisoning wildlife and everything else, including the food we eat, when there's so little if anything gained? The only people really gaining are, as always, the pesticide manufacturers - so naturally they'll keep up the pressure for these poisons to be used!  Can farmers not stand back and see the bigger picture? When they hear of the exponential rise in the incidence of various cancers, leukaemia, Parkinson's, motor neuron disease etc. both in fellow farmers and the wider population - do they never stop to question if there may perhaps be some connection?

  

Wonderful Wayward Weeds

 

There's  not so many butterflies around again this year, after erratic weather.  Encouraging wild plants - particularly clumps of nettles in various places around the garden will help them.  I just hope the huge bird population here don't eat all the emerging caterpillars when the eggs hatch! This morning in a corner of one of the tunnels in which I leave specifically for growing nettles for butterflies - I found that the sparrows have already started clearing up some caterpillars I think I'm going to have to put the nettles in that particular corner into a nettle cage to keep the birds out - then the non-organic visitors really will think I've lost the plot! 

 

 Most non-organic gardeners and farmers seem to think that weeds are a nuisance and should be eradicated totally. They don't understand, or even perhaps care, that so-called weeds (wild plants) are an important part of our whole ecosystem, vital for the survival of wildlife and the preservation of natural biodiversity. There's been a huge decline in all wildlife since the second world war, particularly birds, butterflies and moths, bees and other invertebrates, and so many other animals higher up the food chain which depend on them in their turn for food. Many plants and animals are in serious danger of extinction - some have sadly already been lost forever. The intensification of agriculture, with its associated loss of habitat, artificial fertilisers, pesticides, weedkillers etc. is mostly to blame. Development and sadly now also climate change are contributing factors too. Someone once famously coined the phrase "A weed is a plant in the wrong place" - who decides what is actually a weed?  I prefer Ralph Waldo Emerson's definition - "A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered"

 

Many wild plants do make very good eating not just for wildlife but for us too - that's how our vegetables and fruits gradually developed over millennia since man first foraged to survive. I have a much treasured and very well thumbed copy of Richard Mabey's wonderful book "Food for Free", which I bought in 1972 when it was first published. It's the one book I never lend to anyone - it's far too precious - and so many books never come back! It's a terrific book. It will hopefully always be available - unlike many of our native plants, which I've watched disappearing with increasing rapidity during my lifetime. Wild plants are a precious genetic resource which should be more valued - not just for preserving our wildlife - but for preserving ourselves too - as what we do to nature - we ultimately do to ourselves. We are part of nature too. I hear a lot about foraging here in Ireland these days - it's become very fashionable all of a sudden.  (Apparently one famous 'rock star' has his own personal forager! He would do better to support organic farming!)  Sadly I don't hear anyone mention anything about what I call 'responsible foraging' though - making sure that we never take all of anything and that we leaves plants to reproduce and multiply. It isn't our exclusive right to plunder the natural world as ,much as we like for whatever we want. Nature's resources are there not just for our benefit - but for that of wildlife and all the other creatures that we share this planet with.

 

I grow a great many plants which most people would consider to be weeds all over the garden, but particularly in my 'B's' border - for bees, bugs, butterflies and birds - which has been planted specifically to encourage them. My garden is not a neat strictly controlled 'show garden' where everything is arranged in neat rows in it's proper place - many people are often surprised when they first see it- they obviously expected something rather different, think I've just been idle and haven't done any weeding! There's a huge difference between a weed-smothered, un-cared for mess and an abundant and productive organic garden that's also managed for wildlife! If a wild plant sows itself somewhere, is looking happy and isn't in the way of anything else - then it's left to do it's own thing here. Plants generally choose to put themselves where they're most happy. Consequently, the garden is a glorious jumble of insect-attracting flowers all over the place in no particular order - to the extent that it can at times look a bit chaotic! But as a result it's always full of birds and other wildlife too, which help to control the pests which would otherwise eat my vegetables! 
 
 
I prefer to share my garden with Nature - and feel that I am richly rewarded for doing so. I hate to see the dead brown 'tell tale' signs of weedkillers sprayed around peoples gates, along road verges and on paths when I'm out driving round the country. I often feel that people are afraid that nature will take over completely if they don't strictly control it - I feel it's a sign of insecurity and ignorance.  In a garden, as in life - a little give and take can be so much more rewarding! If you're trying to garden with Nature it's often best to let Nature show you what it wants you to grow, and where, within reason! Nothing looks worse than a garden full of tortured, unhealthy looking plants, growing in a bare, lifeless soil and usually full of pests. That's what using chemicals does for you! 
 
 
No - not the latest 'must have' plant from Chelsea - but a wild carrot flower!
No - not the latest 'must have' plant from Chelsea - but a wild carrot flower!
 
 
 
Because I don't use weedkillers - Nature often leaves me lovely surprises around the garden - in a corner of the courtyard that I hadn't got round to weeding yet last year I found something beautiful that very closely resembled the latest 'must have' plant which everyone, including the undoubtedly learned presenters, were ooh-ing and aah-ing over at Chelsea flower show - mine has a different Latin name though - Daucus Carota - (actually, wild carrot!!) - I left it there for fun, just to see how many of my 'expert' friends could guess it's name!! Do you know - not one did!!
 
 
 
Every time I walk up to the top end of the garden nowclouds of sparrows fly up from the Stipa - they're already eating the ripening seeds - it's not a plant people many people would think of planting for wildllife, but it seems to be a great success with them. It's also incredibly graceful and airy - moving gently in even the lightest breeze and mixing with everything else, like verbena bonariensis and nicotiana beautifully. The east facing side of the bank curves round making a well sheltered and cosy place to sit late on a summer's evening. There's an old weathered bench there, which fits perfectly into the curve, facing south, which warms up in the sun during the day. Memories surround me as I sit on that bench - their presence is almost tangible. 
Butterflies also enjoy resting for a while in the sun on the warm bench, by the border planted especially for them and bees.
Butterflies also enjoy resting for a while in the sun on the warm bench, by the border planted especially for them and bees. 
I've sat there enjoying the company of so many friends. It's my favourite spot to rest for a while on my way back from shutting up the hens at dusk - watching the last light fading through the stems of Stipa and Verbena on top of the bank, while swallows swoop overhead, their white breast feathers turning to pink in the fading light of the setting sun. A moment to hold in one's memory.......Not long after the swallows go to bed, the bats come out, rushing frantically backwards and forwards, zig-zagging low over the border and bank, hunting the early moths already fluttering among the scented tall white Nicotiana Affinis flowers. A 'stillness' descends,. "Where peace comes dropping slow..." as W.B. Yeats so famously penned.  It's hard to tear oneself away until it's almost too dark to see the path back to the house! ...........This is my Garden of Eden! 
 
 
 
 
 
Long live weeds!
 
 
Oreganum vulgare - wild marjoram.
Oreganum vulgare - wild marjoram.
Two of the other plants which I find sow themselves generously around are teasels and wild oregano (marjoram). Now called 'weeds' - both were once considered to be useful plants and are really beautiful when enjoying themselves in fertile ground, rather than barely surviving on the poor waste ground where they are often seen. Teasels are a biennial - which means their seedlings develop huge handsome silvery leaves in their first year and then develop their tall statuesque flowering stems the next, setting their seed, then afterwards dying. Bees, butterflies and moths adore the pale pink prickly flowers, and when they go to seed they are a great favourite with goldfinches - what more could you ask? There's always plenty of spare seedlings dotted around the garden. Another favourite plant that seeds madly is wild marjoram - oreganum vulgare - a 'weed' that you often see on poor soil on the sides of new motorways. It's actually a very useful and delicious herb, which historically was often used in meat dishes, and which can be dried for winter use. When well grown it's around 2ft/60cm or so high, with hairy, very aromatic leaves and attractive, deep purple flower buds which turn into heads of small, fluffy pink flowers at this time of year - again loved by bees etc. Both plants are looking really lovely at the moment, and combine well with several plants of Stipa Gigantea (the giant oat grass), Verbena Bonariensis, Geranium Palmatum, Nicotiana affinis. feverfew, purple Fennel, with a carpet of pink and white variegated thyme, viola Labradorica and chamomile, on the east facing inner curve of the 'B's' bank.
 
 
Buddleia 'Lochinch'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the plants which sows itself with gay abandon all around the garden is Buddleia - which some people actually consider to be a weed! I love it's honey-scented beauty! I planted several different coloured cultivars 30 years ago, when we first moved here. I come across many different coloured seedlings now, in the most unlikely of places, and they're all lovely.  Buddleia fallowiana alba and Buddleia 'Lochinch Blue' seem to be the most dominant colours. 'Lochinch' is a lovely blue-mauve, with silvery felted leaves, which seems to go with everything. I spent a couple of years wondering what was best to do with the west facing, very steep bank on the curve at the back of the 'B's border -  which is a sort of long '?'  shape. It's impossible to dig because the second you disturb any soil, either it falls down immediately or heavy rain washes it down to the bottom. The border was originally developed six years ago, from a heap of subsoil and rubbish left over from a building job, and the poor gravelly subsoil is ideal for wildflowers and perfect too, for nesting solitary bees. A couple of years ago I spotted a lovely white buddleia that had sown itself in just the right spot, and that immediately gave me the idea of planting along with it some of the many other seedlings I can never resist potting up for some possible use later. I hate wasting them! Their roots are now very efficiently retaining the soil on the steep bank, and since then I've been able to plant lots more wildflowers around underneath them. 

 

Nature is so clever and never leaves ground empty for long unless it is so toxic that no life exists there. Driving into Dublin this time last last year, (something I avoid like the plague unless I absolutely have to) I noticed that all over the empty unfinished and disused building sites that are still evidence of the 'economic crash' - there are now prolific Buddleia gardens! These are wonderful for bees, moths and butterflies. Some of the sites were also smothered in rosebay willow herb - a favourite with hawk moths - huge and beautiful moths which almost resemble a hummingbird as it hovers to collect nectar from flowers in broad daylight.  These 'wastelands' are a beautiful greening of such an appalling and obscene waste. It's an ill wind! The more weeds that grow on those sites the better, as far as I'm concerned - Dublin's strictly controlled and poisoned parks are not planted with our native wildlife in mind - and not even our children in most cases! The nectar, pollen and seeds of weeds and garden escapees are a rich resource for wildlife. LONG LIVE WEEDS I SAY!


 
Weedkillers kill more than weeds 

 
Talking of which - a friend who was doing a course in a church hall was horrified 2 years ago to see men spraying between the paving stones in the playground during the lunch break. When she asked the men - from a local firm of landscapers - they said they weren't spraying with anything - just water! As if!!! That's utter nonsense - otherwise why else would they be wasting time doing that!  They would hardly be watering the weeds would they?! As a farmer's daughter - my friend immediately recognised that horrible 'creosotey/phenol' smell of pesticides/weedkillers, which many people who were not brought up in the country might not have done. In addition to her classes, there were also a mother/toddler groups there on weekday mornings too, and some of the mothers were pregnant. It was possibly either a total weedkiller like Glyphosate/Roundup, or a pre-emergence weedkiller that was being used to stop weeds germinating between the paving stones. That would be more cost effective for any landscape maintenance company rather than actually having to hand weed. Pesticides and weedkillers, especially in pregnant mothers, have recently been recognised in several scientific studies to possibly be one of the major causes of autism, childhood cancers etc. They should not be allowed anywhere near places where children may be playing, sitting on the ground, putting hands in their mouths etc. as toddlers do. Of course when she contacted the County Council to complain and later received a reply - the landscape company lied and totally denied that they were using weedkiller!
 
 
A few years ago while sitting in a Dublin supermarket car park at midday - I also watched men in white protective suits and masks spraying in the car park. Unbelievably - there were no warning signs anywhere. Children and dogs were running around. If they thought that what they were spraying was so innocuous that it was not necessary to warn people - then why were they themselves dressed in protective clothing? This is something we should all be aware of - people are getting being paid to do this! I doubt very much if any supermarket would even think to ask what the landscape maintenance companies involved are spraying in order to keep their premises looking tidy!! And frankly they probably don't care either - since many of the shops in question are selling Roundup/glyphosate on their shelves close to food and children's toys - often even at levels where children can actually reach it! The stink of it was appalling in one supermarket - so bad that it was obviously leaking and being inhaled by everyone walking past it. That totally contravenes even the manufacturer's own Materials Safety Data Sheet or MSDS - which clearly stipulates how their products should be handled!
     
 
I asked a member of staff in my local Tesco last year if she had any idea what the green & red bottles placed on the bottom shelf in the 'seasonal' aisle were. No - was the wide eyed innocent answer. I asked if it would bother her if she knew it contained highly toxic chemical weedkiller - Glyphosate/Roundup - now branded as possibly cancer-causing by none other than The World Health Organisation. She appeared horrified - so I asked her if staff had been given any instructions and knowledge on how to handle it or even gloves with which to do so - despite the fact that some was quite obviously leaking. She said that they had not! All those ignore the 'MSDS' - the Materials Safety Data Sheet /or instructions for storage and handling, which are the recommended safety guidelines issued by Dow Agrichemicals one of the makers of Glyphosate weedkiller products themselves! Elsewhere - in a Sainsburys store - I found it being sold only a few inches from children's birthday cakes - and leaking fumes so badly that you could smell it over two aisles away!! 
 
 
How many people had bought those cakes for children? How many children may have already been affected at a genetic level by these chemicals? It shows a total lack of concern and utter contempt for customers. We are just cash cows for them! Despite my constant complaints - I've had no reaction other than to say "We've logged your complaint"! The PR spin machine of the big chemical companies is so efficient at branding all of us organic gardeners as extremists and nutcases - and the media generally are so terrified of them that they get away with it. And since governments are also clearly in their pockets - then what hope have we of getting anyone to listen? But listen they must - sooner or later. They have no right to destroy our children's future for profit! 
 
 
What has changed since 'Silent Spring' - other than the names of the chemcials? Meanwhile people's lives are affected and the natural world continues to be irreversibly damaged or destroyed altogether.
 
 
 
A few things you can do to help wildlife in the garden this month
 
 
Make sure that there are drinking spots in various places around the garden for birds and other wildlife if it's dry.  Upturned dustbin lids filled with water on the ground are good, as they're not too deep and creatures like hedgehogs won't drown in them. Tip it out every couple of days to freshen the water. Keep your bird feeders filled up - all the young fledglings are learning where they are - they're often very tame and you can get quite close to watch them. Many will stay with you throughout the winter. Leave your lawn to grow a bit longer and let clover and other plants flower - the bees and moths love them. If you have a lot of clover in your lawn it always looks green even in the driest of weather. If you leave it a bit longer still and let dandelions flower and seed - just see how the goldfinches will flock to it! 
 
Remember to leave seed heads on plants that will not flower again even if you remove them - they may be valuable winter food. Start thinking about making wildlife hibernation sites around the garden - bug boxes, hedgehog boxes, bee hotels, log piles etc. - children love to hlep doing that and it's a great way for them to pass the time in the holidays.
 
 
If you teach children to love wildlife you will be giving a priceless gift that lasts forever
 
 
While it is the school holidays - take some time out of the busy tasks of everyday life to really watch wildlife with your children. Teach them to love wildlife - our children are the only hope for it's future!  Get them a pair of cheap binoculars, a bug catching net and a magnifying glass, have snail races, catch crickets - mine used to get endless hours of fun from that!  Making dens, tree houses, having small barbecues and 'camping' (which usually lasted about half an hour until they wanted to come back into the house) were all great favourites too. Every minute was filled and hours passed unnoticed without me ever hearing the phrase - "I'm bored" - that I hear so many Nature-deficient, screen-addicted children say now. Don't worry about them getting their hands dirty - science has recently proved that it's actually good for them!  Their skin and lungs need to absorb some of the natural mycobacteria and fungi that are present in a healthy soil and in the air. 
 
 
While opening children's innocent eyes to the wonders of nature you will also find that you begin see it with their fresh eyes and appreciate it anew.  Make some memories for them to treasure while you still have the time - before they grow up and leave home. I'm so glad I did - because you never know what may be around the corner - as life can so often cruelly teach us. One day they will realise how valuable that time and those memories are - and will thank you. These may sustain them through difficult times. Nature can instil a sense of calmness and peace that nothing else can and it is their rightful natural inheritance. Give them them the most valuable and precious gifts of all - time, love and an abiding delight in the wonders of the the natural world. Those are without price and are so very precious! 
 

Dahlia with hoverflies & butterfly - even non-native plants are good for pollinating insects

 Dahlia with hoverflies & a butterfly - even non-native plants are good for pollinating insects

 
Enjoy this holiday time with your children - treasure every moment. You will never be able to have this precious time again.
 
 

(P.S. I really enjoy sharing my original ideas and 40 years experience of growing and cooking my own organic food with you. It's most satisfying and naturally also very complimentary if others find "inspiration" in my work......But if you do happen to copy any of my material, or repeat it in any way online - I would appreciate it very much if you would please mention that it originally came from me, as it's the result of many years of hard work and often hard won-experience. Thank you.)

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