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Monday, 23 March 2015

MCV: Nature Reserve

Helping Milford’s extensive Nature Reserve

We should be proud of every patch of our parish that contributes to the preservation of plants and animals. It is not only our designated nature reserves but many of our gardens that are stars. All our residents, second homers and visitors can do something. 

Here are six suggestions for tidy but effective action. 

1. Choose and cultivate plants that provide food and shelter for birds, insects, amphibians etc. In my smallish garden during the middle of March I have been watching song thrushes build a nest in a pittosporum tree kept down to size to provide dense cover, and noticed bumblebees (queens and workers) already collecting food from specially planted flowers like pulmonaria for the young in their nests (the evidence is the yellow blobs on the bumbles’ hind-legs – the pollen bags).

The nurseries and web-sites are full of advice,
e.g. www.bumblebeeconservation.org. It’s free if your conservation activity includes digging up young nettles, thistles and brambles and moving them to a wild corner, and allowing ivy support for climbing. 

2. Make rich compost. Store it in containers with apertures big enough for frogs, wild bees, etc to gain access for breeding and hibernation. Some people if short of space put compost under garden seats, but the toads and wild wasps may find it so have your friends got a sense of humour?

3. Make a pond, however small. You’ll be surprised how quickly newts even maybe including palmates will turn up, in my case in a tiny raised basin beside my veranda. You can see them best at night by shining a torch into the water. In summer dragonfly larvae will climb up from the water onto pond plants to hatch. Gorgeous blue demoiselles will come visiting. What’s not to like?

4. Do everything you can to control cats, with night curfews, and tinkling bells on necks. 

5. Talk to your neighbours and involve them in the whole enterprise with plant swaps and support.

6. Keep your ideas and information up to date. Dig out the action leaflet on wildlife gardens that all Milford households received last year, or contact giles-darvill@foxhat.freeserve.co.uk for a free copy. Also useful: the wildlife gardening section of the Hants Wildlife Trust website (www.hiwwt.org.uk). 

Milford Conservation Volunteers (MCV)
www.milfordcv.org or call 01590 645825

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