Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.
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I thought with the Chelsea flower show etc coming up it would be a good time to discuss the way to create a beautiful garden which still provides the best possible habitat for all wildlife. Most people think that the most beautiful can't be also the most useful but I would dispute this. I think that this fad for placing the emphasis on planting 'native' trees and shrubs rather than ornamental varieties is wildly misplaced. There are plenty of 'native' trees and shrubs out in the wild, but their disadvantage in gardens is considerable. The main point is that they are far more vigorous than cultivars, and you have to keep on going in and hacking them back, which is disturbing and destroying any habitat you may have created. The GREAT WATCHWORD with wildlife is Do Not Disturb. Ornamentals are mostly slower growing in our climate or dwarf varieties of natives, and in either case their habit is much more compact than any wild tree or shrub. And a compact habit means that wildlife can nest in an ornamental shrub more easily than in a much looser native version. In the wild most creatures nest in ivy or scrub overgrown with brambles nettles etc, not in the branches of native trees or shrubs because they are too open and there is no suitable thickness of branches that will support a nest. Only in very mature trees are there suitable nesting sites, and few people have room for forest giants in their gardens. So, plant the beautiful trees and shrubs from the garden centres, not native woodland species, and you will have beauty with wildlife. Of course the other pluses are availability of water, and a good selection of all year round flowers and goes without saying, no pesticides.
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