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The Wildlife Garden is gorgeously green at the moment and smells ever so lush. And this weekend it unveils its lusciousness on Sunday 8 May for the first in a series of weekend events that will be happening each month until October.

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Pink delights in the Wildlife Garden, open for its first weekend event on 8 May: Left, ragged robin and right, red campion. Select all images to enlarge them

Our Spring Wildlife event on Sunday starts at midday and along with the cakes, refreshments and a plant sale, there will be great discoveries to make at the display tables dotted around and in the meadows and the big garden shed.

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Join the bluebell demonstration and take a peep inside the bee tree (photographed last year) - once again home to a thriving colony this spring

You can try identifying seeds and fruits through microscopes, do a spot of leaf rubbing, find out about spring-flying insects and life in the nettle patch as well as spotting enormous tadpoles in the pond.

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If you want to learn how to attract birds or bats to your own garden, catch the advice of the experts who will be in the garden. There will also be a chance to witness a demonstration of how to survey bluebells and tell the difference between native and hybrid ones, just before they vanish for the year.

 

Walk along the pathways carpeted with plane tree seeds and secluded by pretty guelder roseand dog roses (most of the blossom has gone now) and look out for the dainty orange-tipped butterflies (right) flitting about and a few busy bees making their way back to the bee-tree colony (above). Also watch out for the cute little moorhen chicks on the pond. Caroline, the garden's manager, counted five last week.

 

There are yellow iris, red campions and ragged robin wildlflowers to enjoy too.

 

At 12.30 and 14.30, you can see more specimens close up and hear from our Nature Live team at the Springing into Life talk.in the nearby Darwin Centre Attenborough Studio.

 

Coming up next this month in the garden is the Great Museum Bioblitz on our Big Nature Day on 22 May with a tree hunt that's also being trialled this Sunday. So watch out for more news of that.

 

Find out more about the Wildlife Garden

 

Join our online bluebell survey

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Last week, on 1 April to be precise, our lovely Wildlife Garden unlocked its gates once more for the public open season. The acre of meadows, chalklands and ponds flanked by trees and garden 'office' sheds are bursting forth with spring life.

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Bird cherry blossom has just started to appear in the Wildlife Garden

I popped in earlier in the week to get a breath of fresh air and chat to Caroline, the garden's manager, who took me round to point out the signs of new life.

 

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There are pretty primroses, cowslips and wood anenomes peeping out here and there and the first few bluebells. The blackthorn, Wild cherry and Bird cherry trees are all beginning to blossom.

 

'Frogs arrived in the pond around the middle of March,' recalls Caroline, continuing 'and we saw the first frog spawn around the 22nd. The toad spawn came a few days later. Toads usually follow frogs.' We lean over the large freshwater pond to observe the mush of spawn clinging to the watery bank and spot a solitary moorhen on one of the islands.

 

It's a busy time for nesting birds, but this spring the moorhen has made her nest outside in the open in front of the nesting box provided. Caroline fears for the vulnerability of the nesting family, but won't interfere.

 

I learn that the first holly blue butterfly was seen in the last couple of weeks and the trees resound with the chatter of green finches and magpies.

 

Caroline and her team have been busy getting ready for the public opening of the garden and planning this year's seasonal garden activities and monthly family weekend events. The first weekend event, Spring Wildlife, is on 8 May, so check the website for more information and updates nearer the time.

 

The Wildlife Garden is not only a place for our visitors to enjoy in the spring, summer and autumn. It's also an urban habitat where we record, identify and conserve species. During the winter months, the Wildlife Garden team have been busy coppicing, pollarding, hedge-laying, weeding and planting to extend woodland areas.You'll see signs of their labours when you visit.

 

Find out about the Wildlife Garden on our website


Take part in our bluebell survey this year

 

Join our cherry tree survey

 

Read our latest news story about bluebells

Enjoy some recent early spring photos of the Wildlife Garden. See some of the species you might spot if you visit soon. Select images to enlarge them

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Nesting moorhen... tread quietly round the pond

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Common toad tadpoles will emerge in the ponds soon

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Marsh marigolds by the pond

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Blackthorn blossom

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Cowslips

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The first of the bluebells, these ones look like native bluebells to me...

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Willow
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Greater stitchwort

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Primroses

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The last daffodil blooms

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Did you know, an incredible 80% of the world's known species are insects and the UK has about 23,500 different types? Or that stick insects make the perfect pets?

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'I won't scratch the furniture, please can I be your family pet?' Our Insects as Pets event is on Saturday 26 June

It's definitely the small things in life that matter this week. We join other organisations and groups around the country to celebrate National Insect Week, from 21 to 27 June. We have special events going on all week and visitors will be able to meet some of our insect experts and their creepy-crawly companions.

 

Highlights of the week include Thursday night's insect talk, Six-Legged Wonders: The Return on 24 June in the Attenborough Studio, where you'll hear from 3 Museum entomologists who reveal insect truths. The talk also features an insect trivia quiz and the bar is open for drinks outside the studio. Watch out for the deadliest insect, so deadly in fact, it has to be kept in 2 separate bags... and some edible ants. You need to book for the Six-Legged Wonders ticketed event.

 

rose-chafer-Cetonia-aurata-500.jpgMy favourite event planned for Saturday is the Insects as Pets talk, where you'll discover what lovable crawlers stick insects and giant cockroaches can be. So I'm assured. On Saturday, there's also pond-dipping in our Wildlife Garden.

 

Find out about National Insect Week events and activities

 

Read the news story about National Insect Week

 

For events around the country, visit the official National Insect Week website


Watch out for some rare six-legged beauties, like the endangered Rose Chafer beetle, pictured right, in our online Species of the day insect series.

 

Discuss insects in our popular bug forum

 

Click on the images to enlarge them.