Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Look after the invertebrates......

This is a post that has been a long time coming but today it feels like the right moment. I'm not going to get evangelical about the politics of the US, or pretend I have answers to the issues we face as both nations and a planet, but I am going to offer a few thoughts on what we can do as individuals, taking one couple as a bit of inspiration.
Its no surprise to any of you I am sure, when I say what we all can do, in whatever way we can, is look after our planet a bit better, individually and within our communities. That doesn't mean becoming self sufficient, never flying again or any other extreme promise that is impossible, today,  to keep to, but it means taking personal responsibility for our own small pieces of the planet, both for ourselves, and for nature. 
Whilst we don't all have acres of land, there is one place that is very special to me where the land is managed for nature in the first case, even though in reality it is seen by the outside world as a flower farm. Common Farm Flowers sits in the most beautiful area of Somerset, and whilst it is an extremely successful flower farm it's deeper aim is to look after the land for biodiversity. Fabrizio Boccha, husband of flower farmer and florist extraordinaire Georgie Newbery, was heard to utter years ago when the land was first bought, "look after the invertebrates and everything else will come" and a truer word was never heard. Over ten years meadows have been created, willow has been planted, trees and hedges have been planted. And walking around those meadows, standing under the willows or sitting by the hedgerows, the sound of birdsong is overwhelming. The meadows are full of bees, butterflies, hover flies and dragon flies. All year round the place buzzes with pollinators, including their own bees, kept not for honey but to give the bees a home and ensure good pollination of the crops.
Where trees and hedges have been planted they are native or edible, or both, supporting birds and giving them a place to nest and food to eat. 
And all this on acres of heavy Somerset clay, that gets sodden over winter, and dries to a biscuit over summer. But looking after that soil, understanding it and working with it has meant the land has been supported to become a biodiverse ecosystem with minimum input to the land that is not farmed for flowers, and even in the farmed land where the soils have to hold maximum nutrients to grow the flowers that are so glorious, the land is managed by completely organic means. Tons of locally sourced compost is added each autumn, allowing the worms to do their work once the beds have been given their yearly dressing, ensuring soil flora and fauna is constantly at a healthy level meaning diseases are easily thrown off by healthy, productive plants. 
Now of course there are others working like this, everyday. But the point I'm making is that  we can all support change, be it in a small or large way, whatever the size of our plots. And if we start to take control of supporting our own environments, ensuring they are healthy and ready to, in turn, support all the flora and fauna who need that support, at least we are helping to keep our villages, towns sand cities and all of their populations healthy. 
And finally I'll share with you a video I took at 6am on morning at Common Farm in June. Standing in this space, listening to the nature all around is an emotional moment and one that I return to in my mind in times of stress. The way the land is managed so gently and with such love speaks of the family who run this garden. Deeply respectful, fierce friends and supporters, who gently support their land which in return supports their business. 
I'll be continuing with more posts about how to help biodiversity in every space, large or small so that everyone can join in and really feel that with a few small adjustments, change can be made by us all.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post - very much how I feel about the way forwards in terms of being mindful of our own impact on the planet alongside helping support people and projects which care for our local environment. The video made me smile - especially the enthusiastic song thrush leading the chorus! ☺