How Does Your Garden Grow?

JoFamily Life, Home & Garden, Lifestyle

Bug hotels

With the Easter holidays fast approaching, I have started to turn my mind to activities to keep my three boys suitably engaged and active during the break. We are lucky that where we live there are a wide variety of options, with Easter egg hunts galore, farms to visit, museums with special events and so on. Equally though, I value having the odd day at home, playing in the garden and getting creative. It helps me to balance my own energy levels with the enthusiasm and buoyancy of my sons.

This year we will really be getting stuck into our new garden, planting more wild flowers and creating plenty of wildlife friendly natural space that we can continue to nurture in years to come. This got me thinking of some nature inspired projects which I wrote about a few years ago for another blog, but thought I would revisit and share with you here. Ideas that we will use to fill time during the holidays, and can be adapted for nearly any outdoor space.

1. Bug boxes
These are a wonderful addition to any outdoor space that you may have. The ones pictured above are relatively small, but I have seen creations that take up an entire wall!

The idea is simple, create a space which attracts the small creepy crawlies in your garden. Here, we’ve used a wooden box and filled it with natural materials such as leaves and bamboo, which spiders, woodlice, centipedes and ladybirds can all crawl into and shelter in. We lie these on the floor, but I have seen them located higher up too, almost at the level of a standard bird table.

I have also seen boxes filled with stones and carefully covered with large netting or chicken wire to hold them in place. Wooden pallets can be stacked and transformed into areas for larger creatures, if you have the room. There’s really no end of opportunities to create and introduce bug friendly constructions. They are a particularly important addition in the later months of the year, when creatures such as ladybirds and lacewings are looking to hibernate, but they will be welcomed by insects all year round.

2. Wildflower area
I cannot wait to get started on this! We have designated a corner of our garden which is going to be completely wild. As a house warming present last year some friends bought us a bag of wildflower seed and we were gifted some packets of seeds too. The Easter holidays will see all of these being planted as part of the transformation of the corner. We are going to define the edges with lavender plants and hebe shrubs to attract the local wildlife including of course bees, and there is already an evergreen tree growing which will provide shelter all year long. We’re going to position the bird table in this area too and, given the frequent occurrence of frogs and toads on our doorstep, we will leave space for a pond which we intend to add when the boys are older.

I love making these, it’s such a simple idea but one that our boys get great satisfaction from. Alongside ensuring that the garden is stocked with plants and flowers, we will use small petals and leaves to create bookmarks which our boys can use as they read their books, or to simply stick on their walls and bring a little of the outside in.

4. Growing our own vegetables
We have done this before, but took a break from it last year, largely because we moved house. In our new home we have a balcony and the idea is that we are going to grow strawberries and tomatoes on it this year and see how they do, so the Easter holidays seems like a perfect time to get potting! The area gets the sunlight from midday onwards so I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on, and keeping my fingers crossed that they won’t get scorched. I’m also rather hoping that keeping them in a separate area might deter some of the slugs and snails. Although equally I have visions of the front of our house being covered in creatures making their way up!

Do you have an outdoor space? What do you enjoy about it? We’d love to hear suggestions of what else we can do with ours!

I can’t wait to get started with planting!

A couple of bookmarks we made a while ago. Much like pressed flowers, they can last forever.

The Tale of Mummyhood

Pink Pear Bear