Learing to share

It was a pleasure for me to open my garden this year as part of Monmouth Bee Festival, to share some of the joy it gives me and to see visitors’ interest in a wilder way of gardening.

Usually my only companions are the birds and bees. Goldfinches take their nyger seed breakfast as I eat my morning muesli on the bench by the front door and a teatime cuppa by the pond is usually accompanied by courting wood pigeons.

Because I garden for nature and share my space willingly with it I have been rewarded with visits from lots of species. First the early rising queen bumble bees, then tawny and ashy mining bees, red tailed mason bees and lots of tiny solitary bees I can’t yet put a name to.

Butterflies seemed to arrive later this year, there were a few common blues and red admirals but lots of ringlets, painted ladies and meadow browns, due I think to my long grass and wild flower lawn. An elephant hawk moth was a nice surprise sitting like a bright pink exotic flower on a seedling pepper plant in the greenhouse.

Nightly visits from hedgehogs have been a treat, often two or three young ones together, they must be creatures of habit to be often in position as night falls, ready and waiting for their dog food dinner.

I’m delighted to be able to share my garden with the animals I love to see but unlike most gardeners I’m also happy to share with slugs, snails, greenfly, caterpillars, spiders, wasps and any other creatures which like to call it home because I know they are an indispensable part of its ecosystem.

A few nibbled leaves are of no consequence to me but to the little caterpillars which munched through them they are the sustenance needed to complete their life cycle and become an adult moth or butterfly or perhaps a nutritious snack for a bird or night flying bat.

Sharing is a skill we acquire as children but when it comes to the natural world, as adults we seem to have forgotten everything we knew. In the grip of the 6th mass extinction of life on earth, we have no choice now, to survive ourselves we have to learn to share.