Most of us are familiar with Google Maps and the satellite (photo) views it’s capable of. I took a little virtual flight over Ballinlough in Cork, and was struck again by the amount of emerald in view.
Adding up all those private little squares, slivers and rectangles of garden — there’s a lot of green space in that one parish. When you think of all our gardens in that wider area, all providing small fence-bounded environments for animals and birds — it’s really quite exciting.
Feeding and watering birds can be a year-round activity, and by presenting your native flock with a variety of seed types at the feeders you will attract a wide array of species. With the breeding season in full flight, the quality of what you present is even more important, as it may be carried back to the nest site — a disaster if young birds are poisoned or choked on your gifts.
Birdwatch Ireland advises against fat and suet product during the spring-summer — keep these energy-rich treats for the colder months. Instead, it suggests: “Mealworms are expensive, but high in protein and are loved by robins, dunnocks and other species that prefer to eat insects above all else. You can add them in with the seeds in your feeder if you want or scatter them on a bird table or on the ground. This is a good food to provide in the spring and summer in particular”, birdwatch.ie.
Choosing the right disease and pest resistant plants that will reduce the need for chemical or manual intervention and promoting useful predators amid the plants are long known practices enjoyed by all organic gardeners.
The Royal Horticultural Society points out that it really is a matter of attitude and that “a low level of (cosmetic) pest or disease damage is usually acceptable and there is, therefore, no need to use pesticides” (rhs.org.uk). There’s a lot to be said for putting up with a few daisies and dandelions around the lawn. Introducing any chemistry, even those detailed for amateur gardening, is something to take seriously.