If you want tips and tricks to maximise the impact of your garden this Summer, keep scrolling! These tips will reduce the impact on your pocket, while increasing the impact of biodiversity in your garden! Sustainable and affordable
Its that time of year to start getting back into the garden after the long, cold winter? If you're renting or only have a small space, it might seem like there's not much you can do! However, the smallest gardens can have the biggest impact! With these tips, not only will you be able to have a huge positive impact on pollinators in your garden, but you can do so without breaking the bank. All of these tips are with renters in mind (as I am one myself!)
Tip #1 - Go Wild!
Wildflowers will benefit any pollinator garden. Long grass is perfect for wild bumblebee nests, while wildflowers like dandelions, clover, buttercup and primroses are sources of food for pollinator insects. However, you have to be careful when choosing your wildflower mixes. Many wildflower seed mixes contain non native species, and can inadvertently introduce invasive species.
If sowing, make sure your wildflower mix is native and of Irish origin.
Tip #2 - No Mow, Let it Grow!
This action helps to restore species-rich grasslands: a vital habitat providing food and shelter for pollinators. Species-rich grasslands have been decimated in Ireland in recent decades.
By reducing mowing – even to once a month – you will help them to slowly return, one pocket at a time. Even if you don't want to commit to your whole garden, one small section will have a BIG impact
Tip #3 - Avoid Chemicals
One of the best things you can do for pollinators is avoid using insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. If you buy plants at a garden center, ask if they have been treated with chemicals. Even ‘bee friendly’ labelled plants may have been treated with pesticides.
Insecticides have been found to kill, harm, and disorientate pollinators. Herbicides kill the ‘weeds’ that provide them with important food.
Instead of using herbicides, enjoy spotting the little wildflowers that pop up when you stop spraying.
Tip #4 - Keep an eye out for secondhand
Starting gardening from scratch can be expensive. An easy way to keep costs low (and be more sustainable) is buying secondhand. Adverts, Facebook Marketplace and Freecycle.ie will have plenty of pots, tools and garden furniture in the coming months.
Plant pots and containers are an easy way to introduce plants into your space if you have a balcony, or if you are renting and don't want to commit all your hard gardening work to one place
Tip #5 - Pollinator Friendly Plants
Choose single-flowered varieties or perennials (double-flowered or annuals are generally poor sources of pollen and nectar)
Look out for:
Grape hyacinth, Wallflower, Lungwort, Berberis, Broom, Rosemary, Borage, Comfrey, Allium, Foxglove, Catmint, Calamint, Bellflower, Scabious, Lamb's ear, Globe thistle, Stonecrop, Verbena, Lavender and Sneezeweed
My final few tips would be to use peat-free soil (Peat bogs are an important habitat, including for many of our pollinators). Dont forget to follow the All Ireland Pollinator Plan for all the best and most up to date advice. And my all time favourite is to put a shallow dish filled with stones and a little water in your garden is a welcome and safe source of water for pollinators.
For more information and tips click here!