As many of you know we are involved in setting up the local Community Garden. Last summer we planted an area close to the entrance with flowers and other plants that attracts wildlife like bees, birds and butterflies. We did not remove plants like dandelions, daisies and clover.
The garden got some feedback with comments like: “aren’t you going to tidy up those weeds?”, “it looks very untidy in that area” and “when will you plant something there?”
We realized that some action was required. The pollinators are in serious decline all across the world and we wish to help them as much possible in the garden by providing them with a safe haven, free from pesticides and full of plants that flower all throughout the year.
We believe that it is time for a change in perception of what a beautiful garden is. We must allow plants like nettles, dandelions, buttercups, daisies and herb Robert spaces in our gardens. A lawn with only grass is like a desert for many insects. We need to include untidy areas, log piles, compost heaps and water if possible.
For the community garden we thought a sign would be a good way to point out that the “untidy area” has a purpose and hopefully change some peoples view.
We had a piece of ash in the shed and started by using grid paper to make a template for spacing the letters on the finished piece. This is nessesary, boring work but you end up with a clear and readable sign.
We drew the spaces for each letter on the board and used a ruler to create the outlines of the letters. For a durable finish we used a small wood burning tool with interchangeable tips for filling them in.
We wanted to include a few bees and butterflies in the design and used a combination of acrylic paint and burning for colouring them in.
This robin looked a bit out of place so we decided not to include him in the final design.
It is our hope that the sign will last a long time and we are planning to use several coats of yacht varnish to protect it from the damp Irish climate.
It will be mounted on posts in a couple of weeks and the crew at the Community Garden are hard at work sowing seeds for a splendid, multi-coloured wildlife friendly display this summer.
At the moment we are delighted with the muscari and daffodils poking their heads up on our pollination patch, ready to feed any early bees.
These are a few photos from last year, a lovely reminder of how much beauty can be found in nature. Without our pollinators, we have very little chance of surviving as a species. The time for action is now, and we would love to see more flowers, wildlife havens and pollination patches everywhere.