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Insects are becoming extinct

One of dad's main sayings was that Einstein, predicted that when the bee's disappear mankind will only have four years to live.

He talked a lot about industrial farming and damage to the animal and insect populations. Towards the end of his life he said we are heading for Armageddon if we don't change.

I used to have a beautiful modern garden in my modern home.

We had easy maintenance shingle at the front, grass and a tree with shingle at the back.

As the builders had taken all the top soil and left only clay planting anything was hugely difficult.

Initially every winter we had 5"of standing water from October to March and from June to September, solid clay.

It was a new build when we moved in. The only insects to be found were ants, lots of them in different colours and sizes. If we did anything to the garden like put up a pergola or lay a patio they would March on the house raiding the kitchen for supplies.

I spent years every spring using a garden fork to make holes and filling them with sharp sand, finished compost from planters, sand from children's sandpits, topsoil, it all went in, the grass got thicker and the moss reduced to manageable amounts. I even managed to plant crocus and bluebells.

I made a flower and herb bed and planted chamomile between paving stones in the patio where the mortar is missing. I planted an ornamental tree for bird cover and a wisteria for height.

I planted for insect attraction and pollination.

In the front garden I planted pollinators instead of Mediterranean spiky things and grasses.

I tried to plant to allow pollinators access to plants throughout the year.

Due to the garden and soil type I have, I have a no dig policy by necessity. I also have to buy very small plants as I can't dig enough for large plants. I plant as best I can, I put in topsoil and rotted manure and leave them to it. They are watered for their first season and when it's very hot, but it's a, survival of the fittest garden.

Once or twice a year I provide more manure and time release food and mulch. I hope the plants are breaking up the soil but I'm not going to be the one to dig them out, I'm afraid it might be quite hard going.

After my first year of planting out I noticed a change. Instead of ants desperately trying to break into the house they were climbing the plants and foraging. There were beetles and a few worms over time and I started to see butter flies and bees. Birds were rummaging around in the flowerbeds looking for food, I hoped they were eating the army of slugs which feasted on my planters every year, alas I lost a number of salvia, hostas and toad lilies but other things flourished as did the insect population, culminating in me finding a couple of hedgehogs this year, I celebrated having a slug devouring addition to my garden.

I have added insect houses, piles of logs and leaves to promote the health and diversity of my little garden. I am amazed at how quickly nature responded to this helping hand, having scarcely seen lady birds for years in the garden, this year there are loads of them and over winter I have found them in plant pots and crevices in the house and garage.

I hope to go on encouraging nature.

We truly are heading towards extinction without our friendly and sometimes not so friendly critters. Small things can make such a difference and a bonus is, we don't get invaded in the house. A final bonus is that we can finally justify not having a tidy garden.

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