Biodiversity in the garden
In today's landscape and cities, many of the environments that were common in Sweden 50-100 years ago are missing. Small bodies of water, dead trees, sunlit sand pits and mowed fields have become uncommon. Here you can read about some of the environments that benefit biodiversity: meadow, pond, compost, sand and tall tree stump.
You can learn even more about biodiversity on the website Ett myller av liv (in Swedish), at the National Resource Center for Biology and Biotechnology.
Pond – for insects and amphibians
All life needs water. Every small water surface or pond in the garden creates space for new life. Insects and amphibians can reproduce here. Birds can seek food or cool off in the summer heat.
Create a pond and have a bustling spectacle to look at! Select a sunny location for your garden pond. Plant some water and shoreline plants, for those animals who need shade. Keep in mind that all frogs, toads and newts are protected species in Sweden. You are not allowed to move them or their eggs.
Tall tree stump – nesting in dead wood
Many tree dwelling insects depend on the environment that dead wood provides. When cutting down trees, we have left several tall tree stumps in The Botanical Garden to benefit biodiversity. The cycle of nature has its given place in the garden as well.
The trees that we have turned into tall tree stumps in The Botanical Garden have been in such bad condition that they could not be saved. When trees are cut down like this they die. You can find some tall tree stumps in the southern part of The Botanical Garden.
Flowers – full of nectar
Feel the scents and listen to the buzz! We often fill our flowerbeds with nectar-rich summer flowers, perfect food for butterflies, hover flies and other insects. Butterflies love buddleja, moths prefer honeysuckle. Lavender, oregano and red-flowering thistles are other popular nectar plants.
To get a lot of butterflies in the garden, there must also be host plants for their larvae. In addition, common brimstone, small tortoiseshell and peacock butterfly need dry and sheltered places to hibernate.
In our school garden you can see an example of a butterfly box – a hibernation nest for butterflies. It is filled with rough bark and dry leaves.
Spices and butterflies
The flower plant family Lamiaceae, sometimes known as deadnettle in English, contain around 7000 species in the world – of which around 60 are in Sweden. The family is characterized by the criss-cross opposite leaves and by the two-lipped flowers, usually with two short and two long stamens. Many of our common spices belong to this family.
- Summer savory
- Lemon balm
Garden compost – nature's cycle in practice
In the garden compost organic material is broken down in a natural way with the help of fungi, bacteria and small animals, e.g. earthworms. The end result is soil that works great for new plantings. The cycle is closed!
The compost also fulfils several important educational functions. Because it is teeming with different forms of life it can stimulate the joy of discovery and curiosity.
Together with children you can think about what happens inside a compost. Who does what in there? Can you put anything in it? What happens if the compost gets too wet or too dry? Why does the compost become warm?
If the compost is managed properly it provides a humus- and nutrient-rich soil that holds water and air well and releases nutrients as the plants absorb them.
Sand in the sun
In a fragmented agricultural landscape there are many different habitats – biotopes. In addition to fields there are meadows, paddocks, roadsides, cairns, stone walls and brows. With more biotopes, the diversity of insects, fungi and plants increases.
Many endangered species depend on sunlit gravel and sandy soils. California rock jasmine, common gromwell, field cotton-rose, common stork's-bill and stonecrop thrive in the warm, dry slope by The Orangery in The Botanical Garden. Bees and other insects dig their nests on such open sandy surfaces. Along with the bees, you also get other insects like bee predatory beetles, sphecid wasps and spider-hunting wasps.
The meadow – important for rare plants and pollinators
Before the meadows in The Botanical Garden are mowed, you can enjoy flowering ox-eye daisies, clover, forget-me-nots, night and day, common meadow-rue and various genera within the aster family. In the spring the common cowslips are flowering.
Meadow plants are sensitive to competition. Tall and nutrient-demanding plants are disadvantaged by mowing. In traditionally managed meadows, animals are let out to pasture after mowing. Animal trampling create open soil for meadow seeds to germinate.
By creating a meadow you benefit biodiversity. Meadow plants, pollinating insects and the butterflies whose larvae feed on the meadow's plants thrive there.