Monday, 22 October 2007

building a house of sticks

Nottinghamshire is famous throughout the world for Sherwood Forest as well as the legend of Robin Hood.
Sherwood Forest is renowned for its oaks. They support the largest number of insect species of any British plant. And they are useful alive or dead. Their rotting wood is home to innumerable spider species and other minibeasts. This diversity of creepy crawlies then leads to tremendous diversity of other species in a long chain of dependents which include frogs and newts, hedgehogs, redstarts, owls, badgers, and foxes. To name a few.
As wildlife gardeners we try and replicate what we see in the wild in our own gardens. Not many of us have gardens large enough to sport a stag-headed oak. But we can encourage bug activity by placing piles of sticks and logs around the garden. Very quickly these will become home to wood lice and other small animals. Newts are partial to a house of sticks.
Piles of sticks can also be useful as subtle markers of where special plants are dormant beneath the soil.
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