I’ve been off school for the past couple of days so I haven’t been able to go further than my garden.
I have been noticing the huge amounts of activity on a large patch of Ivy (Hedera helix) the garden. The Ivy climbs up a fence covering our gas tank. It backs on to a large Hazel tree and a flower bed with a Rudbeckia which is still flowering.
Firstly the birds use the Ivy and the trellis that runs through as somewhere to hide or wait until the bird table is clear.
As I sit and watch, I notice how many different types of bees, wasps and hoverflies that are flying around the plant. There is even a couple of hornets that regularly visit. Even though I am sitting right next to the plant, all the insects just ignore me and go about their business.
Ivy is very important for pollen and nectar after the summer flowers have finished. Over the past couple of days it has been warm and sunny and the insects are making the most of these warm autumn days.
As I take a step closer and ignore the larger insects, I begin to hear a constant humming coming from within the leaves. This is from hundreds and hundreds of smaller insects, from the larger flies to the tiny midges only millimetres big.
Every flower, leaf or stem has something on it. A lot of these insects will eat the ivy and use it for hibernating in.
When I pull some of the leaves to one side there is even more activity underneath. From Moths to Spiders, Ladybirds to Earwigs, Woodlouse to Ants, all making use of the shelter and food provided by the Ivy.
Over the winter the Ivy’s berries will ripen and become food source for many garden birds such as Blackbirds and Thrushes.