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Reflections

How to Create a Fairy Garden For Insects?

Do you love insects? Most of us don’t, I think. It is a pity because if you observe the beauty of the insect’s life, you will see that God has created them beautifully. Creating a fairy garden for insects is a topic of my heart, especially I have witnessed over decades how we have minimized these creatures by using pesticides and herbicides, which is also devastating for birds and small mammals. I have joined several organizations that try to save the insects like bees and native birds because, without bees, we will die within two years.

How to create a fairy garden for insects?
rie-ker, Pixabay

Here in the Netherlands, people do quite a lot for the insects, but it is like a drop on a hot stone; in spring, there is so much vegetation for them, but in summer, everything is burned. Wild bees and bumblebees are only living a certain short cycle, sometimes about three months. The wild bees need different plants to survive. It has to do with their tongue that could be short or long. They depend on different trees and flowers, so I try to have mostly all kinds of plants in my tiny fairy garden, and I am getting rewarded so much. The diversity of the different species is amazing in my garden. In our environment is hardly any space left for other plants, like wildflowers for the butterflies. This spring, I have seen only two different caterpillars, a bad sign. I still remember the number of butterflies, and bumblebees, and wild bees in my youth. We have to stop using all the toxins that are bad for insects and animals, us, and the environment.

What Attracts Insects?

I mean, we all know that mosquitos love it warm and wet, and we don’t like them, but they are essential for birds and bats or frogs. I have a little pond, and of course, they love the water. You can watch them dancing above the pond. I’m not too fond of a mosquito bite, but I can live with that, as long I don’t get them into the house. 🙂

mosquitos dancing in a field
Kranich17, Pixabay

 

Water is also necessary for other insects. Have you ever observed a bee or wasp that drinks? They are thirsty too, and it is lovely to watch how careful they are to avoid falling into the water. Having a pond in your garden is a lovely experience, watching birds drinking, frogs sitting beside the pond, catching flies and mosquitos. I have different water plants in my pond, and they look beautiful throughout the summer. I also own a fountain, which I placed next to my roses. Birds love water bowls and fountains where they can bathe and drink.

I love the sound of the gurgling water and watching the life around the water. It is such a lovely, recharging, and relaxing moment. So, if you wish to have something relaxing in your garden, you better purchase a fountain that will give you beautiful moments.

a fountain,
Marc Lamy, Unsplash

Attracting insects is not difficult. By stapling stones and wood, you already provide a home for them, and the hedgehogs also favor the wood to have a place where they can hibernate in wintertime.

I make my own compost, and there are lots of insects interested in it, like worms and beetles that help together with micro-organism to develop all the organic waste into first-class compost. Your soil will be so much better, and you have a place where you can leave your kitchen waste.

In my garden, you will also find some insect hotels where the wild bees and butterflies can build homes or survive the winter. I would love to purchase more of them because there are still not enough homes for the insects. Sand bees need the sand for their breed, very often hidden under bushes.

We have holes in our wall where we had a wild honey bee population for some years until they died altogether, I believe because of the Varroa mite. So I was sad when I discovered that they were gone.  But there are still bumblebee populations in my walls and under the ground, which I love very much. They look so cute and are always busy.

If you like the idea of letting your walls been overgrown by plants, you are doing the insects a great favor. They can hide there. I observe the birds going into the green walls to find insects for their youngsters and themselves, of course.

In my garden, there is so much life, and I would love to increase it even more.:) If you have any idea, we would love you to tell us. 🙂 We can learn from you too! 🙂

Bees, Bumblebees, and Butterflies

They are beautiful insects, and if we go on with the pollution of our environment, we will not see them anymore soon. If they die, experts say we will die within two years, making haste to help these lovely insects by placing homes for them and the right plants all year round. I have so many different plants and even the so-called weed I let grow because I know the bees need them. There are so many sorts of wild bees, and they need different plants, regarding their inability to fly very far, sometimes only 150 meters. They depend on these plants, and I love to provide them for my little friends.

a bee flies to a papaver
ajs1980518, Pixabay

Butterflies are so extremely decimated that you can hardly find a caterpillar. Why do we not leave them on the plants? It is only for a short time, and plants will recover. Don’t use pesticides and herbicides in your garden, and don’t buy plants that were very much treated with chemical stuff. These beautiful insects will die! I see that for decades, certain butterflies still can survive, even they have decreased very much in numbers, but others you don’t see very often.

Maybe you do experience this in your country as well. Please let us know; we would love to hear what is happening in other countries to these insects. If you know anything about how to help our little friends, please let us know! 🙂

How to Keep Your Garden Wild, But Still Beautiful?

Some people love a well-organized and maintained garden. Everything has to be cleaned and sorted out. No loose wood and stones are tolerated.

a wild flower field
pasje1000, Pixabay

My mother has a beautiful garden, a huge one, which she maintains by herself, sometimes getting helped by my nephews or a professional gardener who cuts her trees and does heavy work for her. She loves it well organized, and her pond has to be cleaned every year. I told her that is not good for the life in her pond, but she still cleans her water.

My husband and I love it natural, and even there are algues in our water, we get them out from time to time, but we leave everything to Mother Nature, who does know how to maintain her children. I am not worried that she does it wrong, but I am worried about the interference of the humans, for sure! Most of us don’t even feel themselves anymore or think they belong to nature themselves, so how can they take care of their garden, keeping it natural? They have no idea how insects and birds or little mammals live, and I believe that they often have no clue about the natural cycles and the animals.

hedgehog family
devil-su, Pixabay

Educating yourself is essential if you save bees and butterflies by keeping your garden wild and natural and planting the right trees and flowers. Only then will you create an environment where these insects will improve and increase. A tidy garden will not help very much. But, if you have a vegetable garden or grow plants on your rooftop, you will give nature a hand, which also helps us finally. Having wood stapled in the corner of your garden or a stony wall covered by plants will help them the same as placing the insects’ hotels. You learn so much watching these insects and their lifecycle that is very short, a beautiful enrichment of your own little world. Believe me; it is relaxing and interesting observing their business.

In winter, I leave all fallen leaves in my garden. They cover the plants, but they are also protection and home to insects that try to hide in the winter. If you cut all the dead flowers and plants, you remove their possibility to survive. Bumblebee queens are surviving pregnant in the ground, coming out in March when the sun is warm. Honey bees are surviving in a hole where they have collected enough nectar and polls for the winter. Help these insects; they are vital for our future.

More Insects Mean More Mammals and Birds

The increasing population of insects will help multiply the birds and small mammals, like bats and hedgehogs. Birds have a hard time raising their little ones due to the decreased population of insects. That is why nature organizations advise feeding them the whole year. Little birds need protein to grow, and insects are protein for them. It is easy to help them by buying worms that will certainly help the population of the birds. However, I find it somehow unnatural and think the best food for the breed is insects that mom and dad collect. The birds know precisely what is good for their youngsters while we don’t know what is good for us, and certainly not for the children. Supermarket? 🙂

a bird feeding its kids
147681, Pixabay

In winter, I feed the birds with seeds and fat, so they don’t need to be hungry. There are so many different birds in my garden, it is beautiful to watch them, and they are very thankful for the help. Every morning, I put the seeds into the feeding houses; the birds are already waiting for me. But in April, when the insects come out of their winter houses, the birds are first startled by not getting fed anymore. So I try to give them food every second to the third day till I stop feeding, and it works fine. After that, birds can be attempted to feed their little ones with sunflower seeds and peanuts, yoking them to death. It is something to think about, and if you really would like to give them a hand in summer, do provide worms.

The best we all can do is increasing the population of insects by growing and planting trees and flowers the whole year, so there will always be a tree or plant flowering for the insects. However, most insects hide during winter, coming out in March, and hiding again in late autumn. It is best not to cut plants before spring since many insects hide in the stems of the plants. I leave all old stems in my garden during winter and have bamboo placed, so they have more possibilities to hide. In this manner, we can do quite a lot for them. 🙂

Final Thought

insect hotel
Manfredrichter, Pixabay

The population of insects is declining yearly because of pesticides and herbicides and the change of their habitats. A decreased population is also devasting for birds and small animals which live from insects. Their numbers are declining too. If we want to give them a hand, we better help to improve the environment, our gardens, and balconies. It is not difficult to support the insects; by placing insect hotels, we provide housing and a place for their breed. Wild honey bees are already seldom in the Netherlands, and wild solitaire living bees have difficulty finding the right plants for food and feeding their breed. This means that we have to provide more native plants in our environment, and farmers have to stop using pesticides and herbicides, including artificial fertilizers. Monoculture in farming has done a lot of harm. If we want to recover our world, we all need to stop exploiting and recovering the landscapes. Only then will the insects come back in the usual numbers only one century ago.

What do you think? Have you ever thought of helping the insects to recover and multiply? Please, let us know what do you do to help them? We would love to hear it!

All the Best,

Sylvie

4 Comments

  • Christine

    Hi Sylvia,

    I live in the semi-desert in the middle of nowhere and I don’t use pesticides or herbicides. I also let a lot of local plants and trees grow on my land. Many of those plant have gorgeous flowers in purple, blue, and yellow colors which attract bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and all kinds of insects. Many birds live on my property, there are nests here and there, and I’ve seen them raise their chicks for years now. It is always a privilege to watch this. Many bees come to the flowers here. Two years ago carpenter bees build a hive in an old cupboard I had outside and they left me alone. I could walk by there all the time and they would not hurt me. One day I got too close though and I got stung and ever since that day they stung me every single day and I had to get rid of them. I felt bad about it but it was right outside my house and I needed to walk by there all the time, there was no other way. That was an exception though. I usually leave nature as it is. I don’t believe in adapting nature to our desires as most people do who then destroy most of nature by doing that. At night, frogs come out and they have a pool party in the dog’s water bowl. It’s always so cute to see 🙂

    • Sylvie

      Wow, Christine! It sounds so beautiful where you live! I would love that. Here in the Netherlands, it is so noisy! I love nature and quietness. Did you know that bees can recognize your face, and if they think you are their enemy, you can’t do anything right anymore. I lived about three years with my honey bees, and they never did anything to me, luckily. But my husband got stung by a wild solitaire living bee because we destroyed without knowing her nest. I felt horrible after that. You are blessed, Christine!:)

  • Henk van Dijkhuizen

    Wow, I love how you care about the environment, and contribute to it by caring for your garden. You give such great advice, and I think you really should join a group in your city to support the positive change of your environment. I am not so keen on insects, but I certainly understand what you are saying. Great, Sylvie!

    • Sylvie

      Thank you so much! Yes, I know many people, especially women, who don’t love insects, but they are essential for our birds and small mammals, like hedgehogs or bats. They have to come back! 🙂

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