Walking a dog really helps us connect with nature. Whatever the season or the weather, doggo needs to have a walk, so we’re forced to be more aware of Nature’s rhythms and moods.
Spring has got to be one of the best seasons for inspiring sustainable lifestyle changes and filling us with hope for the future.
Have you noticed the hedgerows bursting with the brightest green of the new leaves? Perhaps you’ve been aware of the increasing hum of insect activity out on your walks. You might even have been on some bluebell walks this month with your pooch.
There’s nothing quite like the magic you feel in a bluebell wood – the dappled light cascading through the translucent silk of newborn leaves onto the purple carpet below. Purple is a colour so seldom seen in nature that it never fails to feel awesome when you come across it, particularly in such abundance. You may well have seen the invasive Spanish bluebells too. These threaten our native bluebells as they can grow just about anywhere, whereas True Blues grow only in the dappled light of ancient woodland. You can tell them apart because the Spanish variety stand tall and have bells on all sides of the stalk. The British bluebell droops over, weighted by the bells being on just one side.
A favourite of mine at this time of year is the humble cow parsley which explodes from verges like pretty white fireworks. It’s everywhere at the moment. It’s a haven for insect life including pollinators such as bees and hoverflies and for the smart red soldier beetles too. It’s easy to confuse with many other similar plants such as hogweed and water dropwort (this one is deadly poisonous), so do take care and keep an eye on what your dog is snuffling in.
This month you’re even off the hook in the garden as it’s no-mow May! And if Monty Don says it’s ok, then it’s ok with me! Letting your lawn grow a little taller can provide flowers and habitats for a great many species, all of whom need our help :) And while we’re thinking about helping nature… if you’re filling your flower beds with annuals, consider choosing native plants and those with a pollinator sticker at the garden centres. Selectively bred annuals may look wonderful but some of them have been altered from their original state so much that their flowers are the wrong shape for our native pollinators to access. You can’t go wrong with blooms such as lady’s bedstraw, primrose, lavender and verbena. Read more about supporting nature in your garden by creating a nectar café here: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/best-plants-bees-and-pollinators
And finally, don’t forget your certified home compostable poo bags when you’re out on those Spring walks. Feel good enjoying nature while knowing you’re giving her a helping hand:)
Photo by Gabriel McCallin