Written by Ula Wilson

April gardening project with Speclean

connect with the natural world...

April gardening project with Speclean

We’ve been caught up in home office and doing house cleaning ourselves and so our gardens and outside spaces are more precious than before, both to us and to the creatures who live in them. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still do lots to encourage bees, butterflies and bugs to visit.

# 1

Start garden plants from seeds on windowsills - Easy plants to try include French marigolds, nasturtiums and zinnias. Sow in seed trays and cover with clear tray or plastic bottle to retain warmth and moisture. Remove cover as soon as seedlings poke through.

# 2

Germinate an avocado stone – Push three or four cocktail sticks around the circumference of a stone and suspend over a jar of water. Keep the water topped up. When it germinates, plant in a pot and grow on a windowsill.

# 3

Grow supermarket herbs – Herbs from a supermarket such as basil and coriander are grown as a cluster of seedlings. Remove from the pot and gently tease seedlings apart. Grow to make more herb plants.

# 4

Give a hedgehog a home - Hedgehogs hoover up plant pests like slugs and caterpillars, so welcoming these sweet and spiky characters will do your garden good. Keep a patch unkempt with piles of leaves, a compost heap or a log pile. They’re all great environments to provide hedgehogs with insects to feed on, as well as somewhere to sleep during the day and hibernate through winter.

# 5

Butterflies - From painted ladies to white admirals, swallowtails to small tortoiseshells, delicate butterflies come in a variety of colourful species. Sadly, numbers have declined in the UK in recent years, largely because the natural habitats butterflies thrive in, such as wildflower meadows and woodlands, have been overtaken by industry, housing developments and intensive farming. We can help make life better for butterflies by planting nectar-rich buds in warm, sunny spots. Get them fluttering to your flower beds by digging buddleia and bluebells into borders and potting up primrose. Well-placed, sun-facing window boxes, hanging baskets or containers filled with lavender, honeysuckle or jasmine are also enticing.

# 6

Let’s bee friends – Nectar and pollen-rich flowers and plants such as hawthorn, honeysuckle, lavender and crocus are favourites of bees, while they also make a ‘beeline’ for wildflowers. Plant wildflower seed mixes and create your own mini meadow filled with forget-me-nots and poppies. Think about leaving a corner of your garden unmown, encouraging wildflowers to crop up in the grass. A window box filled with flowering herbs like marjoram, rosemary and chives also makes a great tea for the bee - not to mention giving you a fresh supply of culinary ingredients!

Many of these projects are fun to try with kids and will help to connect with the natural world. Gardening also helps enhance calmness, ease anxiety and raise our moods - essential as we face the stresses and strains brought by Covid and isolation. On the other hand it can be sometimes messy. If you require any help with house cleaning, please don’t hesitate to contact us direct by email enquiries@speclean.co.uk or phone 02034176522.