Four million trees to be planted in the UK

by Julia Bradley on January 17, 2014

New woodland is expected to sprout up across England over the next 12 months as ministers pledge to plant four million trees.

The £6 million investment for 2014/15 comes as the Government confirmed it will continue financing the creation of green areas.


Green areas ‘boost mental well-being’

by Julia Bradley on January 16, 2014

Moving to greener areas can lead to big improvements in a person’s mental health, according to university researchers in a pioneering new study.

The research showed that such a move can instantly improve mental well-being, with the effects lasting for at least three years.

However, those participants who upped sticks to a more built-up environment suffered a decline in mental health.


Spring flowers one of 2013’s winners

by Julia Bradley on January 5, 2014

Spring flowers have been among the many wildlife beneficiaries of Britain’s weather this year.

A hot July and August helped put memories of six successive poor summers behind us.

But a cool spring also provided a long flowering season for spring flowers, according to the National Trust (NT).


City kids ‘losing exposure to nature’

by Julia Bradley on December 26, 2013

Sir David Attenborough has warned that the loss of green areas in schools is cutting off city children from their only exposure to nature.

In his opinion, too many schools are responding to pressure for places by building new classrooms on playing fields and areas set aside for nature study.

Pupils in cities across the country therefore have less chance of becoming accustomed to the various plants and wildlife of the natural world.


Orchid mantis mimicry ‘attracts prey’

by Julia Bradley on December 6, 2013

Scientists have confirmed that a creature known as the orchid mantis mimics exotic flowers to both hide from prey – and attract victims.

The insect, that features legs which look like petals, has evolved over time to imitate orchids in both shape and colour.

Australian researchers who carried out the research even claim that the orchid mantis is actually more attractive to insects than the genuine flower itself.


Scots pine tops native flora survey

by Julia Bradley on November 18, 2013

The Scots pine has been voted Scotland’s favourite native tree or plant in a survey by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The pine narrowly edged out the Scottish bluebell with 15% of the vote, in an online poll which opened last April and attracted 1,700 votes from the UK and further afield.

Species such as the crossbill, pine marten and capercaillie rely on the Scots pine for habitat, while the ubiquitous Scottish bluebell has become synonymous with signifying the start of summer.


Call to protect London’s green spaces

by Julia Bradley on November 15, 2013

Mayor of London Boris Johnson is not doing enough to protect and support the capital’s green spaces.

That’s the opinion of more than half of respondents to a new London Assembly biodiversity survey, who believe more should be done to help flowers and plants flourish in the city.

The Assembly Environment Committee survey of 841 nature conservation and community groups, plus individuals in London found that 56% think the Mayor could do more to protect the region’s biodiversity.


Funding open for UK flower growers

by Julia Bradley on November 13, 2013

Groups of people growing native UK flowers can now receive funding in their quest to protect endangered species and brighten the areas where they live.

The national Grow Wild initiative, which is supported by the Big Lottery Fund and run by the Royal Botanic Gardens in London, is offering grants of up to £5,000 to help cover the cost of pioneering projects across the country.

It wants people to get together and preserve the nation’s wild flowers, many of which face an uncertain future as their natural habitats are being lost.


Rare orchid found on Scottish island

by Julia Bradley on November 8, 2013

A rare orchid found growing on an island off the west coast of Scotland has probably been lying dormant for years, according to wildlife experts.

About 160 specimens of Irish lady’s tresses have been discovered by RSPB volunteers Gill and Richard Watts on the island of Oronsay.

Mrs Watts said: “They’re amazingly beautiful flowers, with a musky vanilla fragrance. We didn’t quite believe what we’d found at first, because we know they’re so rare.”


Wildlife-friendly gardens ‘important’ for many

by Julia Bradley on November 5, 2013

Buying a property with a ‘wildlife-friendly’ garden would be worth paying more for, results from a joint – survey of homeowners by the RSPB and Rightmove suggest.

The poll of more than 1,500 people in the UK discovered that almost 70% would consider paying more for a house if it had a garden that benefited wildlife.

The survey was launched as part of the RSPB’s Giving Nature a Home campaign that is encouraging people to do more to provide a home to wildlife in their gardens.