Oops! I started writing this post back in the Easter holidays and forgot about it! We had such fun making our bug hotel and it’s a fantastic summer holiday activity so I’m posting it now. Better late than never!
The boys and I enjoyed the Easter Holidays so much, we’ve had long family walks, a picnic, lazy days and busy days.
We finally got round to starting our bug hotel. We’ve been saving lots of bits and bobs; old wellies, broken plant pots, logs, pine cones etc. I also saved the dried up plants I cut back in the garden and we bundled them up with string, the boys loved using a saw to cut up old garden canes and our Christmas tree. Which I’m embarrassed to say was still sitting in the garden.
I am in a quandary every Christmas about what’s best for the planet, a reusable fake or a real tree. We haven’t got room in our garden for one with roots to replant. We all love the smell and feel of a real tree and feel like it’s the true tradition that has been going on in midwinter since before Christmas began so we get a real one. I like the pagan ways of asking permission before taking any living thing from nature and leaving something in return so ideally I like to get one we can choose, I can quietly ask permission before it’s cut, then leave an offering of water after. (So far I’ve managed to do this discretely without too many odd looks!). I also like to support local small businesses and Christmas trees can be one of their most profitable crops and they often give seasonal work to locals to sell the trees so I feel, on balance this is the best choice for our family. I also like to feel that the tree is put to good use after the festive season, not wasted, hence why it hangs around the garden until I’ve found a suitable project. Anyway, Christmas tree justification over, back to the bug hotel!
We bundled up sticks, canes, branches and dried weeds with string and filled broken pots with moss. The boys particularly liked filling their old wellies with dried leaves and using tools of course. The old toy box we used needed the last bit of broken lid removing and the side needed fixing. We turned the box on it’s end and stacked it with all the interesting bits and bobs we found. It took a while to get the arrangement just right. We balanced it on logs so that there’s a little gap underneath for frogs, toads or small mammals too. We have still got space at the top so we’re on the lookout for other things to add. possibly an old tea pot filled with wood shavings or bark? Or we may drill some holes in logs and add those. A friend has given us an offcut of roofing felt to make it nice and cosy and waterproof.
I hope some bugs move in soon! I feel it’s important to leave part of our gardens for nature, sadly we pave over so much of our gardens now and mow our lawns and manicure the flower beds so that there’s not much space for the bugs which other wildlife often relies on for it’s survival. Also rain can’t soak into the ground as easily through paving, tarmac, concrete etc. and this has a real affect on the water table as well as our garden plants and wildlife. There are lots of ways to give nature a home in your garden, no matter how small it is (and ours is very small).
- bird feeders and bird baths
- make holes in fences so that hedgehogs can travel to breed and nest
- butterfly feeders
- make a pond; even a tiny one in an old sink or container could attract frogs and toads, dragonflies and damselflies and other pond life which in turn helps bats and birds
- leave a patch of longer grass and plant meadow flowers for the bees, butterflies and other insects
- make a pile of logs for mini beasts to make homes in
- Put up nest boxes for different types of birds and bats
- create a compost heap, nature will move in and create marvellous compost for you in return
There are loads more ways to invite nature into your garden and give a little bit back to our environment. It can be fascinating to see what moves in and can be educational for children (and adults).
Happy bug hunting!