21 March – With this week marking the official start of Spring, high-quality optic specialists SWAROVSKI OPTIK has teamed up with TV Presenter and nature expert Mike Dilger, to share top tips for making UK gardens more wildlife-friendly this Spring.

From a few simple steps such as encouraging colourful insects with nectar and pollen to creating beetle heaven with a decomposing log pile, there’s a myriad of ways gardens can become an even more welcoming environment for wildlife and insects this Spring.

Mike’s top tips include:

  • More nectar and pollen! – Try to ensure you have nectar and pollen available in your garden from the first awakenings of spring to the last dying days of autumn. Flowers not only attract all manner of colourful insects – from butterflies and moths, to hoverflies and bumblebees – but the insects in turn will pull in the caterpillar-hunting birds and hungry hedgehogs.
  • Plant a tree in 24 – Trees add an extra, or third, dimension to gardens. Keeping gardens cooler in summer and warmer in winter, they are also bed and breakfast for a vast array of wildlife. And the trees need not necessarily be huge either. If you’re short on room, why not try a crab apple, which produces blossom in spring and fruit in the autumn.
  • No mow May – Try leaving a small section of your lawn un-mown right the way through to at least the end of May. This will allow any wild flowers, like self-heal or primrose, to flower and set seed before being cut down in their prime. The longer grass will also become a refuge to a myriad of invertebrates.
  • Just add water – Adding a water feature to your garden not only provides a place for birds to bath and mammals to drink, but also becomes home to everything from pond skaters and water boatmen to damselflies and dragonflies. And size definitely doesn’t matter… If you’re limited on space, a bucket or basin sunk in the ground could easily become adopted as a spawning ground for frogs.
  • Delightful dead wood and cool compost heaps – Lots of wildlife is dependent on dead wood and decaying plants. A slowly decomposing log pile, for example, is considered beetle heaven, while the warmth of a gently rotting compost heap can even draw in slow worms, grass snakes or bank voles.
  • Grab your binoculars and pen – those spring wildlife visits can sometimes be fleeting and I always have a pair of binoculars at hand to quickly pick-up when a bird, butterfly or insect decides to make an appearance. It also helps to have a notebook and pen, if you wish to record what’s visiting and when.Mike’s latest book One Thousand Shades of Green: A Year in Search of Britain’s Wild Plants is available to purchase as a Paperback and eBook from https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/one-thousand-shades-of-green-9781472993625/.

The world belongs to those who can see beauty.
Experience the moment!

Photo caption:

  • Image 1: Flowers attract all manner of colourful insects – from butterflies and moths, to hoverflies and bumblebees.
  • Image 2: TV Presenter and Nature Expert Mike Dilger in his garden at home in Bristol with Swarovski Optik binoculars.
  • Image 3: Planting trees and encouraging insects will pull in the caterpillar-hunting birds this Spring.
  • Images available to download from https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/hqmvojr2c9ebvy3wcdp2u/h?rlkey=9l1ox8by6j40fv1jjdw94mfxi&dl=0

SWAROVSKI OPTIK headquartered in Absam, Tyrol, is part of the Swarovski group of companies. Founded in 1949, the Austrian company specialises in the development and manufacturing of long-range optical instruments of the highest precision in the premium segment of the market. The binoculars, spotting scopes, and optronic instruments are products of choice for demanding users. The company’s success is based on its innovative strength, the quality and intrinsic value of its products, and their functional and esthetic design. The appreciation of nature is an essential part of its company philosophy and is reflected commendably in its environmentally friendly production and its long-term commitment to selected nature conservation projects. The turnover in 2019 was 158.7 million euros (2018: 156.3 million euros), with an export ratio of 91%. The company has around 980 employees.

Mike Dilger has been an obsessive naturalist since childhood, equally at home either on his hands and knees identifying wildflowers in the British countryside or surveying the Amazon for hummingbirds. With degrees in Botany and Ecology, Mike’s obsession with the tropics began when studying moths in the South American Andes. This then led to over five years carrying out research work in the tropical forests of Ecuador, Vietnam, Tanzania and Peru.

Finally emerging out of the bush and returning back to Britain to find a job in television, Mike is probably best known as the wildlife expert on the BBC’s The One Show. Pontificating about everything from bumblebees to basking sharks, Mike has racked up over 450 appearances during his 15 years on the show. His main job now is as a professional plate spinner, which involves intermingling TV commitments, tour-leading, writing and giving talks. Mike leads trips for Wildlife Worldwide from the Somerset Levels to the Scottish Highlands in the UK, while abroad he takes guests to Ecuador and Madagascar.

A columnist for BBC Wildlife Magazine, Mike has also written eight nature-themed books, with his most recent being One Thousand Shades of Green – A Year in Search of Britain’s Wild Plants. For further details on Mike Dilger, https://mikedilger.co.uk.

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