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Take action for pollinators

Pollinators are struggling in the UK and we need to give them a hand. We rely on them for a lot of our food production and for pollinating many of our garden plants. Much of the green space in Wantage and Grove is dominated by close-cut grass that offers very little of value to pollinators, or any other wildlife for that matter. Areas can still be cut short for paths and to play sports, but there are plenty of spaces that can be left to support wildlife, save money and reduce carbon emissions too./

What can I do to help?
Add some plants for pollinators in your garden: There is a huge range of attractive plants that are also great at attracting bees, butterflies and other pollinators, and help support their populations. Great advice here Plants for Pollinators (RHS)

Create a wild patch in your lawn: Often plants we consider weeds provide much needed nectar and pollen for many insects, you might be surprised to see what grows up. For step-by-step advice, go here: Grow a Wild Patch (BBOWT)

Add some flowering shrubs or trees to your garden: Hawthorn, Buddleia, fruit trees, Pussy Willow, Californian Lilac will all soon be buzzing with life 20 Flowering Shrubs for Bees (BuzzAboutBees)

Leave that ivy! Contrary to what many people think, ivy does not strangle trees (it only grows into the crown when trees are already struggling) and can be a great source of late pollen, nectar and fruit for many species, at a time when little else is about. Tolerate ivy where you can and the wildlife will love you for it.

Improve our verges and community green space: So much of our green space is short-cut grass which is of very little use to wildlife:
– Cut it less and let the dandelions and other wildflowers grow
– Add some spring bulbs like snowdrops, daffodils or crocuses
– Add the attractive yellow rattle; this will weaken the grass and let other flowers get going
– Take on the management of your verge and ask the Council to stop cutting it. Probably best to add a sign that reminds them not to cut it and shows someone is looking after it.
– Leave seed heads, as many birds will feed on these, even tiny dandelion seeds.
– Plantlife are leading a great campaign here Road Verge Campaign

Add a bee or butterfly house in your garden: This will help them survive the winter or give them somewhere to lay eggs for next year’s brood. You don’t need to buy one, there are lots you can make, for example Design a Bug Hotel (Urban Gardens). Many bees and other insects will lay eggs in hollow stems so leave them in place until late spring.

Wild Wantage images ©Mark Bradfield / Lucy Duerdoth