Val Bourne.jpeg

Our meeting on May 13 was a very jolly talk from garden writer and lecturer Val Bourne.

She is a lifelong gardener herself and passionately interested in organic gardening, which she has always practised. She now feels that the gardening world is beginning to catch up, with more and more media and print garden writers espousing the no-chemical way of life. This was kick started by EU research into pesticides in the early 2000s which in turn led to many popular products being banned from the garden centre shelves, due to their adverse effect on insects.

We all know how important insects are to our bird life, but she made us see the intricate web of different species of insect that all rely on each other to thrive. Next time you see aphids on your plants, look to see what other insects are also there, using them as fodder!

Her main tips are to diversify your planting – trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals all have a different part to play. Secondly, think ‘right plant, right place’ and make sure your plants are happy where you’ve put them.

She also advocates planting densely with lots of ground cover, which helps protect wildlife. Early flowers are very good for solitary and bumble bees and our hawthorn hedges, so prevalent in the village, can attract up to 149 different species of insect. While hazel has 79 regular visitors and apple trees 93. The main take away was that we need to be very careful in the garden even if we get fed up with a few plants being nibbled!