Song Thrust
Song Thrust

“That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!”
Robert Browning


Rather than blaming the poor farmers for the destruction of the UK’s natural habitats, (who in all fairness, have very little choice but to resort to use of nasty pesticides) perhaps we should look closer to home?

We like our vegetables to be cheap and we’re not too bothered where they come from; this undermines the British farming industry and as a result, most farmers simply can’t afford to use organic, chemical-free, farming practices, the profit is tight as it is. Not all of us can afford to buy organic, so what else can we do to bring a little balance to it all?

Wildlife for the common man

Encouraging more wildlife into our gardens can’t be a bad thing. Many species of birds, insects and other animals will happily devour many of the pests that we usually eradicate using pesticides and other nasties. Most farmers will agree that if such creatures were in abundance throughout our country, then they wouldn’t have to turn the aid of chemicals in the fight against snails, slugs, aphids, etc – that nature would have a more positive and prominent role to play in keeping our vital crops healthy. A ‘catch 22 situation’. The pesticides kill all insects including the ones that kill the pests.

The natural solution

Our shopping habits aside, what can we do right now to make a real difference? Well, consider your own garden. Is it a haven for wild critters, or a barren desert, with a ‘fence to fence’ carpeting of lawn? Providing a little habitat for beneficial animals will not only give you a warm feeling inside but will add plenty of interest.

Add a few bushes, rocks and stones or logs to your garden. Plant a couple of fruit trees and create a shady area in your garden. If you don’t have young children, then a pond will add tonnes of interest and a nice home for so many species of plants, animals and insects.

Only this afternoon, I heard the tapping and cracking of snail shells and spotted rare sight  in my small garden. A Song Thrush busily hunting for snails in the snow. In that part of my garden, I happen to know that there are hundreds of snails, hidden behind a wall-mounted trellis and beneath a rather large Passiflora. I’ve always struggled to get to that tight spot in my garden. Happy hunting Song Thrush!

James Middleton

An obsessive gardener since 1982. Day-time job - web designer and developer and University lecturer.

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