Its mid summer and time to enjoy those somewhat rare sunny moments by relaxing in the garden and appreciating all your hard work. I have often had some close wildlife encounters after waking from a mid afternoon nap in the garden, with the animals almost forgetting that I was there after being so still for so long.
Your garden birds may have fledged their second brood by now, so you could have three generations of birds all foraging around your borders. Butterflies and bumblebees should be busy in abundance enjoying the colours and scents of the garden as much as you. On particularly warm and clear evenings you may see the agile swooping of bats foraging for invertebrates over your flower beds.
Dead heading certain flowers can extend the flowering periods for some plant species, but remember by letting some flower heads progress to seed you will be able to collect seeds for next years plants and also provide some seed for foraging invertebrates and birds.
During July your wildlife pond may experience a bloom of algal growth coinciding with the warmer summer temperatures. Ponds generally go through cycle of some algal growth, with this reducing over the colder winter months. However new ponds are particularly susceptible to the algal growth blanketing the whole pond, which then reduces light levels to submerged oxygenating plants, reducing the oxygen content of the pond water, and subsequently reducing the invertebrate diversity lurking below the surface. You can remedy this by using a home made netted bag of barley straw suspended within your pond, like a tea bag! As the straw breaks down it releases a substance that prevents further growth of the algae. Using string, tie the bag to a bamboo cane on the outside of the pond, so you don’t have to get too wet when its time to take it out again. As a guide you should use 10g of straw for each square metre of the ponds surface. As the pond matures these algal blooms should reduce both in extent and frequency as the nutrients levels of the pond balance out and as numbers of grazing pond snails builds up. To learn more about life in your pond visit the Pond Conservation web site at www.pondconservation.org.uk