Wild About Wildlife: Space for pollinators

Albert Nolan

Reporter:

Albert Nolan

Wild About Wildlife: Space for pollinators

The natural garden at Rossa Villas

I had just dropped of the kids to their nan’s and had a few hours to spare. The day was very hot and perfect for a gentle stroll. I pasted the Limerick School of Music and the cooling shade of the trees was very inviting.

Several students were stretched out on the lawn and as our climate warms trees will become more important in urban areas as they help regulate the temperature.

Just at the corner of Rossa Villas a garden has been left to nature to design and there is a dazzling array of flowers. A strong breeze was blowing and all of the plants were swaying in this urban meadow. I leaned on the wall to record all of the flowers and hoped that the owners would not mind.

The bright yellow flowers had attracted lots of red tailed bumblebee workers. The colony will stick to the same flower and when it finishes, after plant will take its place. This succession is vital so that bees have a constant supply of nectar and pollen throughout the summer.

Valerian can have red or white flowers and grows on old stone walls through the city. A very special moth sips its nectar. The migrant hummingbird hawk moth hovers in front of flowers and people get really excited when they see this insects as they thing they have seen a real hummingbird.

Buddleia has thrown out long purple fronds. I can smell their fragrance and this is one of the best shrubs for attracting insects and especially butterflies. Today is too windy and I don’t see any on the flowers.

The yellow blooms of wood avens are just starting to fade and already there are a few seeds. These are called burrs and have lots of tiny hooks. They attach onto the coats of animals and the clothes of walkers. They then hitch a few rides to hopefully find a suitable location to grow.

Tall thistles have deep purple flowers. These are a magnet for bees and the white fluffy seeds are eaten by small birds like goldfinches.

Snapdragons and willowherb complete a royal line up of flowers and these are the kind of gardens we need to help our under pressure pollinators.

Ash and sycamore sapling are just starting to grow above the grasses and flowers. If left to its own devices this patch would eventually develop into a small grove.

I cross the road and most of the gardens are divided by tall hedges. Golden privet and Viburnum are the popular choice. Roses have been planted through the hedges adding a splash of whites, reds and pinks. These hedges are suitable nesting spots for dunnocks, wrens and robins.

One of the gardens has a lovely mixture of flowers. The dainty pink flowers of herb robert, cranesbill and nipplewort that was once used to stop the flow of breast milk.

You don’t have to travel very far to find nature in the city and next time you are out see what wildlife you can discover.

Upcoming events

Limerick Birdwatch: Saturday. July 13 from 10am-12pm. Nature walk along the Blackwater River to UL. Meet at car park past Burlington Fitness at the back entrance to UL Clare side. Leader: Pete Beaumont. Strong shoes and suitable clothing required.

Living Limerick: Saturday. July 13 from 6.30pm-8.30pm. Wildlife walk Scotland Bog. Meet at the petrol station Carrigkerry. Discover the birds, insects and flowers that live in a bog.

On Sunday July 14 from 11am-1pm. Forest bathing at Curraghchase Forest Park. Meet at the carpark. Suitable for adults and older kids.

Then on Wednesday 17 from 2-4pm. Wildlife Safari Shannon Fields, Corbally. Meet near Athlunkard Bridge. We will be searching for butterflies, bugs and birds and this event is suitable for young kids. Bring your own net and container if you have one and see what creature you can catch.

For More

albert.nolan@rocketmail.com or 089 4230502. Albert is also available to do walk/talks with schools, tidy towns, youth and community groups