Hints & Tips
Was your garden teeming with wildlife during last summer?
If so, you weren't alone: the summer of 2013 proved to be an excellent one for Britain's wildlife, according to the National Trust.
It may seem like a distant memory as we batten down the hatches and endure the current deluge of rain and wind, but wildlife numbers soared during the summer months. Warm weather particularly benefited insects, with butterflies, moths and grasshoppers flourishing in the balmy conditions.
Other species, such as the tree bumblebee, fared particularly well – the relative newcomer to these shores has now spread into Scotland.
The National Trust today (December 27th) publishes its annual report into the effect of the weather on the UK's natural habitat. It says that the summer of 2013 got off to a slow start and there was an extended cold period during the spring – which had an impact on frogs and many mammals coming out of hibernation. Snowdrops, primrose and bluebells all flowered for longer.
When summer finally arrived, though, it was good news for a wide range of our native species. A number of different mammals, birds and plants benefited from the good weather, including pine martens, puffins and orchids.
Thankfully for gardeners, the warm weather did not prove attractive to slugs, which had benefited from the unusually wet weather of previous years. Aphids also became relatively scarce during the last year, according to the report.
Matthew Oates, the National Trust's naturalist, said: "We were more than overdue a good summer, and eventually we got a real cracker.
"The way our butterflies and other sun-loving insects bounced back in July was utterly amazing, showing nature's powers of recovery at their best. We have seen more winners than losers in our wildlife year, which is a tremendous result, considering where we were last year."
Mr Oates said the warm weather's impact would have lasting benefits into 2014. Here's hoping we enjoy another warm summer – one that's good for wildlife and good for gardeners.