Weeds are a common enemy to many gardeners – and despite brutal attempts to eradicate them, somehow they manage to survive…. They positively flourish in dry corners, brickwork and crevices. They regularly invade beds designated for pretty flowers; and they even seem perfectly adapted for any climate or weather fluctuation.
Their ingenious seed dispersal techniques ensure their survival – no matter what our objections may be.
But whilst weeds may seem like a horticultural enemy; they are in fact the opposite for wildlife. Weeds provide shelter and nourishment, especially for the mini-beasts, which in turn benefit the birds and small mammals who feed on them.
Different types of weed come into flower at different times of year, and due to their fast growing nature, they are often the first to provide food for insects after the winter thaw. Importantly, bees are able to forage among the flowers of weeds when other flower food sources are scarce, such as the clusters of ivy flowers in late autumn.
Butterflies and bees enjoy visiting the golden dandelions….
…and bright daisies attract the aphids in the garden – which in turn feed our ladybird populations.
In an age of weed killers and pesticides, weeds are a welcome sight to garden wildlife. By turning a corner patch over to wild flowers and weeds; gardeners can make a huge difference to garden biodiversity – an act which is always rewarded with colourful flowers and visits from bees, butterflies and songbirds.