In the past I believed a good gardener was amongst other things, a tidy gardener. Removing all dead material from view and either composting it or tossing it.
I've also always believed that a healthy garden is one full of wildlife - bit hard for them to achieve when I've been tossing out their natural habitats!
Since I've been focusing on growing organic edibles a lot of my old "beliefs" have been challenged by the things I've read or been told. I attend as many workshops as I can, I read as much as I can and I ask a lot of questions of people more knowledgable than myself. Some "experts" will tell you, in all good faith, that their way is the only way but this just isn't true. There are many, many ways of achieving a healthy productive garden. And I don't believe in expending much effort to achieve that either. KISS is a great motto. Esther Deans no dig approach was my first eye opener many years ago.
Deadwood habitats are something I became aware of only recently but now realise their importance is immense in creating a healthy environment for all the creatures, fungi etc that would like to live in my little backyard if only I will let them.
Deadwood creates a home and refuge for animals and insects and retains the nutrients within my garden, for my garden. The insects provide food for predators which come and work for free in my garden or they go out and pollinate my plants for me.
Weeds are another thing I've fought over the years, but I'm learning that they also tell a story about the health of the land and are useful themselves in so many ways - sometimes edible or just as weed tea!
I still like my garden a little controlled but I'm learning to let go :)
Here's some of the habitats I have in my garden, some relatively are short lived like the piles of grass and cold compost which will eventually go into my beds. Others are for the long haul - breaking down slowly over years.
Below - Deadwood under the custard apple tree.
Finally! got around to creating some simple Insect Hotels.
Bunnings cut up the PVC for me, bless them (maybe I paid for the service - I don't know); some curled bark I found on the ground, some bamboo which was too expensive but the best thing available and already cut to size. I've also added some plastic straws to fill in the little gaps and provide homes for smaller insects.
Have a look at this wonderful site for insect abodes.
One of the pics to tempt you :)
Little people are moving into the insect hotels. No native bees that I can see, but other insects are using them.
Below: A beautiful mud dauber has used two of the tubes and her larvae is cohabiting with Rattle Ants and another smaller variety of ant. I watched her coming and going with mud. The little ants seemed to be attracted to where she was working but neither bothered the other.
Very exciting - I've found one of the Leaf Cutter Bee nests. Not sure if the other bamboo tubes have nests in them also, bit hard to tell if it's natural bits of bamboo or nests of some sort.
Some links Elaine found:
Plus some links from an earlier posting I did on insect hotels:
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