Somerset Life



without affecting amenity areas.

What positive action can the homeowner take to assist pollinator­s? There are around 15 million gardens in the UK, comprising around 700,000 acres, which could become a network of natural reserves. Selected garden flowers play a crucially important role in sustaining life for pollinator­s, but the first and most important step for the garden or allotment

Insects are dying out up to eight times faster than larger animals and 41 per cent of insect species face extinction.

Take part in the Wildlife Trust’s Action for Insects campaign and pledge a space in your garden for insects and play your part in reversing this decline. Sign up for a free digital guide on insect-friendly gardening and tips on how to go chemical free in your garden! wildlifetr­ owner is to stop using poisons. Ignore the shelf of pesticides, insecticid­es, fungicides and herbicides in garden shops and centres. Instead, maintain a healthy soil with plenty of home-made compost and vow to cultivate cottage garden flowers, which will benefit a wide range of pollinatin­g insects. A basic choice would be buddleia, honeysuckl­e, nicotiana, comfrey, sedum, lilac, poppy, cornflower, forgetmeno­t, greater knapweed and ivy. . . and even a patch of nettles so beloved by peacock and small tortoisesh­ell butterflie­s.

Does Somerset Wildlife Trust use pesticides? A fair question and the answer is ‘yes’, but no more than small amounts of herbicides for target plants only and under controlled circumstan­ces, avoiding contact with other plants. Himalayan balsam, parrots feather and ragwort are removed manually, while manual scrub clearance and cutting to keep on top of re-growth enables species-rich grassland to re-establish and flourish on the Trust’s Reserves.

With 20,000 members Somerset Wildlife Trust is the County’s leading conservati­on charity, managing more than 1,700 hectares of land.

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