#PatchChat Life in a Garden Wildlife Patch
The early morning sun shines rays over the top of the fence, illuminating the jumbled mass of green vegetation that is the wildlife patch. No matter how small your garden is, just creating a wild patch really makes a difference for wildlife.
Peering into the pond the dark blue water is shrouded by the entangled water plants, with the snails forever crawling about their mass. Pond skaters dance on the water’s surface, darting about across the water, barely leaving a ripple as they go. A flitting moment of blue colour illustrates the arrival of a blue tit. Hopping down the plank of wood at the end of the pond, the little bird makes its way to the water’s edge, before its feet disappear under the surface and its little blue wings flap about, covering its body with the water. Then abruptly it flies upwards to the safety of the nearby tree. The pond is an important resource for all the birds in the garden, watching them drink and bathe is a true delight. A soft thump, signals the arrival of a blackbird on the fence. The male, with his beautifully smart black plumage, flutters down to the water’s edge, before descending into deeper depths than the blue tit. The blackbirds seem to be violent bathers, dispersing water droplets across the surrounding vegetation.
Early spring summons the beginning of the flowering plants, with primrose and cowslip adding the first flash of yellow into the display. The vegetation is short then but come summer the flowers grow tall, all competing for resources in the wild patch. A sea of white and pink flowers then overtake the area, the beautiful oxeye daisies glorious to behold. The light pink bell-shaped tubes of the foxglove are speckled inside with darker purple and stand tall against the fence, along with the deep purple of the mallow. The vibrant yellow mullein is beginning to flower, their height reaching beyond the confinement of the fence, a clue to the neighbours of the wilderness that lies near. We are not choosy here, the flowers grow where they please; red clover, selfheal, red campion, ribwort plantain, and knapweed, among others. The stinging nettles too grow in the corner, a valuable resource for various butterflies to lay their eggs on, such as small tortoiseshell and peacock.
No other area of the garden hums and buzzes with the orchestra of insects that frequent the wildlife patch. The deep base of the bumble bees can be heard as they disappear into the cave like corolla of the foxglove or purposefully fly to the mullein that stand tall, before landing on the available flowers. The high pitched buzz of other bees dashing about the flowers adds to the symphony, with the delicate hoverflies, which visit the oxeye daisies, completing the orchestra. Other insects too find this sanctuary, with the spiders running about the woodpile; the ants milking the greenfly on the stem of the daisies; and the damselflies resting on vegetation by the pond – every creature is welcomed in this wild patch.
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