Posted 16th Jun 2016
Tom Holland talks us through the process of turning your garden into a paradise for insects
Garden lovers appreciate variety in flowers and other plants – and they are not alone. Birds, small mammals and insects enjoy a natural paradise filled with seasonal flowers, grass and fruits. Thankfully, these creatures earn their keep as they kill garden pests and diligently aid pollination in the early summer. Encourage their hard work and harness their help by providing insects with different nesting spaces and winter accommodation.
Homemade wildlife homes have been big news at the RHS garden shows in recent years and there are plenty of easy ways you can build your own insect hotels for wild bees, hoverflies, green lacewings and ladybirds.
Keen amateur gardener and woodwork enthusiast, Tom Holland loves creating unusual homes for the bugs in his garden.
He draws up building plans and constructs houses, tunnels or multi-level hotels for a variety of creatures. As a master carpenter, he is well-accustomed to working with wood. 'I would have happily become a professional gardener,' he confesses. While carpentry became his profession, gardening has always been his passion. The insects love using his small shelters, since unmanaged hedges, dead wood and undergrowth are becoming increasingly rare in gardens. Sheds without proofing and with lots of cracks and openings are also uncommon these days. Many gardeners prefer clean, orderly gardens, which has led to the destruction of a large number of natural insect habitats as a result of excessive clearing of trees and trimming of bushes, for example.
By building the insect homes, Tom combines his hobby of gardening with his passion for wood. Since retiring, he now has even more time for both. He particularly likes to build little houses, tunnels and posts with his grandchildren and their friends, whilst teaching them about the small but important garden dwellers.
'It's a great birthday party idea for kids,' he claims. It's no wonder: at the end of the project, each child can proudly take the insect hotel that they built with their own hands home to attract lots of useful garden insects in the future.