Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Flowers For Wildlife

Of course, most of the flowers we enjoy looking at are there, only to attract insects in their various forms. Among the best for this purpose, are those belonging to the thistle family - really, the Daisy family. Spear Thistles are both large and colourful and as such, they attract a huge number of insects. They are particularly popular with bees and hoverflies.
Much smaller, but also popular with insects, the Common Centaury - a member of the Gentian family - is delightful to us but provides food to many smaller insects.
The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have sown  several areas of Shipley Park, with a mixture of wildflowers specifically for producing seeds to feed the birds in winter.
These colourful meadows are full of Corn marigolds, Cornflowers, Chicory, various members of the Pea family and a host of others. The benefits are twofold. They will of course, provide seeds for the birds, but not until the insects have done their bit and pollinated them. What you might call a 'win-win situation.'
Around the lakes of Straw's Bridge, the Ragwort, Purple Loosestrife, Water Mint and Teasels are full of pollinating insects. Most are very common, but the Water Mint plants also play host to the wonderful little Mint Leaf Beetle which is much more scarce and therefore, difficult to find.
One more picture from Straw's Bridge, showing (with a little digital bloom), the colourful summer display which is only there for the insects!
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