a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Warning-of-ecological-armageddon-after-dramatic-plunge-in-insect-numbers

14 Comments

Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

14 thoughts on “Warning-of-ecological-armageddon-after-dramatic-plunge-in-insect-numbers

  1. The nights of driving in the dusk wiping insects off the windscreen are long gone. There are no insects left it seems. I live on the border or France Switzerland and Germany and every hedge border and road side verge is mown down to the soil. There is no where left for the insects to live. No fields, no verges, no untidy Gardens: we have mowed them all away.

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  2. Hello A &K,
    Thanks very much for this link which is a shocking piece of research. Even here, we’ve been alarmed by swallow numbers declining this year and have over the last few years gone from several fly papers in the kitchen per annum to deal with flies inside to 1 last year, and this year just 1 with only about 20 small flies caught all year. We get wall to wall Brexit political coverage here, yet I haven’t heard anything about this. This research points to the environment falling off a cliff. We probably deserve what’s coming our way…
    best wishes
    Julian

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  3. This is not good. It’ll be hard to get people to understand how dire, most are happy to not have to deal with insects.

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  4. I was just reading about this today. Scary stuff!

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  5. I wonder why this ‘news’ is suddenly circulating again? Not that I’m really complaining, but I’m really surprised by how much it is ‘news’ to people, who obviously didn’t pick up on it earlier in the year when the paper was released. It made newspaper headlines back then too. Anyway, it’s habitat loss all the way (in which I include pesticides ruining otherwise perfectly good habitat). The ‘number of bugs squashed on cars’ index is not as useful as it could be, because cars are more aerodynamic than they used to be, so the figures are unnaturally low compared to when the first survey was done. These days flying insects get swept over the car as much as they hit it due to improved design. On the other hand, there are more cars on the road, so total kill is still significant and is quite rightly being raised as a concern. Also the fact that roads cut habitat in two which means you get insects running the gauntlet when they cross.

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  6. I read this in the Guardian too. It is terrifying. Insects, amphibians, no-one seems to care. Only news of some cuddly-looking furry animal that may be about to become extinct gets any real attention but the insect loss is far more damaging to too the well being of the planet. I agree with Julian (above) that we are reaping the rewards of our own inaction and probably deserve all we get!

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  7. Thanks for posting this Amelia, it is of great concern especially following on from the figures in the recent State of Nature report (see https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2016/sep/21/britain-insect-population). One reason that a fuss has been made now is because, although some may have been aware of the new findings, they were only published, after peer review, on October 18th.

    Here are two more contributions to the debate from today’s Guardian:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/21/insects-giant-ecosystem-collapsing-human-activity-catastrophe

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/20/insectageddon-farming-catastrophe-climate-breakdown-insect-populations

    George Monbiot has suggested some ways forward but how do we achieve these?

    Those of us reading Amelia’s blog surely care but how do we as concerned individuals make our feelings felt?

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  8. I read this report too. Very worrying.

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