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Dictionaries define Biodiversity - "The variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat, a high level of which is usually considered to be important and desirable."


The awareness, commitment, planning, management and review of Biodiversity is extremely important to eco-systems, a diverse range of plant genus, species and varieties will provide sustenance and habitat to a greater range of life, the management and culture of plants and terrain can further support, in the garden Beneficial Insects, birds, mammals and reptiles can benefit from selection of plant types and the places they are planted as can Pests and Diseases, all compete for life, many pests can be controlled by wildlife living in or visiting gardens if food, water, shelter and habitat is provided.


My horticultural and B.A.S.I.S. training during my career has taught me to try to understand and work with nature to sustain and enhance the environment for everyone and everything to benefit and thrive, in Mirelle's Garden, The Dell we aim to help and support our native wildlife by using a huge range of plants and features within our boundary and professional cultural practice and husbandry to provide a food source and shelter for visiting insects, birds, mammals and reptiles.


Our one acre garden The Dell is rurally located in Norfolk close to Norwich, our former gamekeepers cottage was once part of a large estate, we are lucky to live here and have a diverse terrain to create different Gardens within a Garden.

Spider Araneus Cucurbitina on Magnolia

Box Garden The Dell May 2016

Norwich in Bloom Website






Terry Bane admires Marjoram

The Perennial Border The Dell July 2016



Diverse range of Perennials in Flower

The Perennial Border The Dell July 2017



Diverse range of Perennials in Flower

Dry Bank The Dell July 2017


Comma, Polygonia c-album on Scabiosa Kingfischer Blue

Dry Bank The Dell July 2017


Becoming semi-retired has changed my life style, over the last few years I have been able to spend more time walking and studying Mirelle's garden to see what's growing well and in flower, I often take a chair and quietly sit very close to plants with my camera and macro lens waiting for insects to settle on flowers to feed, I get great pleasure from just watching nature all around me, it gives me a warm and feeling of well being.


For nearly 25 years Mirelle has developed The Dell to contain a huge range of plant types, annuals, biennials, perennials, ferns, shrubs, trees, herbs and vegetables too all are planted for a purpose as well as their beauty.


Each garden area has a purpose or theme, different types of plants are used in each area and different diversity and micro climates achieved, each area attracts different wildlife for different reasons, wildlife visit all the garden areas and visit from beyond our boundary.


Most insects are attracted to flowers to feed on pollen, nectar and honeydew, through my training I was taught insects see Ultraviolet, Blue and Yellow, nature has created many plant genus with these colours and seasonal succession, humanity has developed a wider range of colours and forms through plant selection and breeding to meet economic value, At The Dell we choose a range of colours and notice insects visit every colour of flower but they seem to prefer Blue, Yellow and White. Commercial Insect Sticky Traps are usually Yellow.


Hoverfly, Eupeodes on Anthemis tinctoria

Perennial Border The Dell May 2002



Chives used as a Border Edge

The Vegetable Garden The Dell May 2017


Bee Feeding on Chives

Vegetable Garden The Dell May 2017


Moving to The Dell our house being around 180 years old the first priorities were structural improvements, change of electrics, heating installation, plumbing and decorating, we never seem to finish! the first years we mainly focused on the house we also looked at the garden, its terrain, soil types, what was growing and any features, we noted plants growing and location, particularly seasonal bulbs, wildflowers and Invasive Weed - Japanese Knotweed.


The garden had been neglected for many years, the previous owners had cared for the garden and property for many years until elderly and then the property was left vacant for a while, elderberry, ash saplings and brambles were everywhere, it took us around 3 years to cut down, dry out and burn up to clear the ground and let in light.


The Dell is a steeply sloping area almost a punchbowl shape and very stony, locals have said that gravel had been extracted in the 1800's used on the nearby railway line. With clearance Aconites and Snowdrops appeared, also Campion, Celandine and Sweet Violet, Mirelle has developed The Dell as a natural area helping increase the existing wildflowers and snowdrops and adding others including Primrose, new trees and hedges have been planted to provide food and shelter, a large pond created, a large leaf and grass compost area and bird boxes.

Snowdrops in The Dell February 2017


Hoverfly on Pink Campion Silene hampeana

in The Dell May 2017



Celandine, Ficaria verna in The Dell March 2017



Celandine and Primrose, Primula vulgaris

in The Dell April 2017

Damselfly, Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Grass and Pond Garden The Dell May 2015


Beneficial Insects are Good Friends to the Gardener perhaps best known are Ladybirds their larvae feed on Aphids, Bees help the gardener by visiting flowers eating nectar and pollen at the same time pollinating and cross pollinating plants enabling reproduction through seed and fruit formation, many insects as well as worms are also valuable and help the break down of dead plants and organic material releasing nutrients and creating compost.


There are many other Beneficial Insects that also feed on and control pests that visit our garden including Damselfly, Dragonfly, Lacewing and Hoverfly.


Beneficial Insects and Biological Control can be purchased from suppliers, during my career at Earlham Park Nursery, I regularly released Cryptolaemus (Ladybug) larvae to control Mealy Bug and Scale Insect and Encarsia formosa (Parasitic Wasp) to control Whitefly as part of a Integrated Pest Management Programme.


Beneficial insects are eaten by other insects as well as birds, mammals and reptiles.




Even as I sit here writing text its 20th January and I have a Harlequin Ladybird crawling along the power cable and onto my laptop, our cottage was built around the 1830's, it has lots of cracks, crevices and original windows with air gaps, only a few days ago I opened the living room window and counted around 100 ladybirds of various forms tightly packed along the window edge, I suspect ladybirds have been overwintering in our cottage for many years.


During the winter evenings I often see a ladybird flying around the light fitment, we seem to have mainly Harlequins originally from Asia in 2004, I have also seen black and red spotted ladybirds, they are welcome friends and Beneficial Insects helping to keep down populations and control aphids, scales and psyllids (Jumping Plant Lice), there are concerns that the harlequins as invaders are out competing the UK's native species.


When we first moved into our cottage during October we notice lots of lacewings (Chrysoperia carnea) mainly on our first floor landing roof, we still see an odd few overwintering but not as many, lacewings only as larvae are the Gardeners Friend actively hunting and eating aphids, scale insects, caterpillars and insect eggs as adults they feed on pollen, nectar and honeydew, we have many plants in our garden that help sustain the adults.

Harlequin Ladybirds, Harmonia axyridis mating

Vegetable Garden The Dell May 2017


Grass and Pond Garden The Dell May 2017



Greater Spotted Woodpecker on peanut feeder

Box Garden The Dell February 2012


Fieldfare feeding on Apple

Box Garden The Dell January 2013


Red Legged Partridge Chick in Thyme

Box Garden The Dell July 2015


It gives us so much pleasure watching and hearing birds in the garden, during the winter months we spend much time looking out of our landing and study windows across to the Bird Table and Feeders we fill up daily from October to March with seed, peanuts, meal worms, fat balls and blocks, fruit and bread, we encourage birds to stay and visit our garden all year round in hope that they will eat and control pests during the warmer seasons.


Our garden has agricultural boundary Hedges containing a mixture of Hawthorn (May) Crataegus monogyna, Holly, Ilex aquifolium and Beech Fagus sylvatica, Mirelle has also added Blackthorn Prunus spinosa, Myrobalan or Cherry Plum Prunus cerasifera and in places Laurel Prunus laurocerasus, hedging provides valuable food, shelter and nest places for birds, also food, shelter and habitat for many insects and mammals.


Our Ornamental Grasses are a favourite nesting place for ground birds we have had nesting pheasants in the   Grass and Pond Garden and partridge in grasses planted in barrel containers, the young birds feed off insects attracted to nearby flowers, at the end of each season we Leave Flower Seed Heads for seed eating birds.


Bug Houses and Hotels can be purchased or created to provide habitat for overwintering insects, we also place Log Piles and use Decaying Logs and Branches as path edges and ground retainers to create habitat for insects, mammals and reptiles, our Compost Heaps provide a warm shelter for Grass Snakes and to lay eggs.


Water is essential in a garden for wildlife, Mirelle has created an Ornamental Pond in the Grass Garden and a Large Nature Pond in The Dell, we have seen Damselfly and Dragonfly at both ponds and Bats circling.


Long Tailed Tit Feeding on Fat Balls

Box Garden The Dell February 2018



Bug Hotel made from pallets by Students

at City College Norwich May 2017



Log Piles Provide Valuable Wildlife Habitat

The Dell January 2018



Terry has used hardy annual mixes and wildflowers professionally since 1997, Bohemian Rhapsody a mixture  developed in Holland supplied by D.T. Brown was used at all Norwich summer bedding sites instead of annuals, many seed companies have developed different mixes to suit the need of gardeners and local authority in particular mixes containing genus to Attract Bees, Butterflies and Insects, that include Cornflower Centaurea cyanus, Fiddleneck Phacelia tanacetifolia, Marigold Calendula officinalis, Poached Egg Plant Limnanthes, Viper's Bugloss Echium vulgare and more, each year Norwich sow a Throw To Grow mix at St. Stephens Roundabout.


During their travels across the UK Terry and Mirelle have visited many locations that are using different hardy annual and wildflower mixes, one of our favourite places is the Trentham Estate near Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire.


Mirelle is also using hardy annuals in her new Wildlife Garden using Cornflower, Corn Marigold, Larkspur and more including Love in A Mist Nigella and Poppy Papaver rhoeas good seed heads to feed visiting birds.

Log and Branch ground retainers provide Habitat

The Dell January 2018


Terry Bane and Hardy Annuals 1997

                                                                   Photo by Chris Dunn


Throw To Grow Rainbow Carpet Mix

St. Stephens Roundabout Norwich July 2013



Terry Bane admires a Meadow Mix

Trentham Estate August 2016




Blackfly Aphis fabae

Greenfly Aphidoidea

Mealy Bug Pseudococcidae

Scale Insects Coccoidea

Whitefly Aleyrodidae






Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni

Cabbage White Pieris rapae

Fritillary Agraulis vanillae

Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus

Orange Tip Anthocharis cardomines

Painted Lady Cynthia

Peacock Aglais io

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae


Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Dragonfly Anisoptera

Grasshopper Caelifera

Green Shield Bug Palomena prasina

Hoverflies Eupeodes

Ladybird Harmonia axyridis

Lacewing Chrysoperia carnea

Spiders - various


Blackbird Turdus merula

Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Coal Tit Periparus ater

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

Duck Anas platyrhynchos

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris

Greater Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major

Great Tit Parus major

Green Finch Chloris chloris

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

Hedge Sparrow Prunella modularis

Heron Ardeidae

Jackdaw Corvus monedula

Jay Garrulus glandarius

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Long Tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

Little Owl Athene noctua

Magpie Pica pica

Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

Red-Legged Partridge Alectoris rufa

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Rook Corvus frugilegus

Siskin Spinus spinus

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Swift Apus apus

Tree Creeper Certhiidae

Wren Troglodytidae



Bat Chiroptera

Frog Rana temporaria

Grass Snake Natrix natrix

Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis

Hedgehog Erinaceinae

Mole Talpa europaea

Mouse Mus

Muntjac Deer Muntiacini

Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus

Rat Rattus norvegicus

Shrew Soricidae

Stoat Mustela erminea

Toad Bufo bufo

Weasel Mustela nivalis



Updated 10th November 2019 Copyright Terry and Mirelle Bane 2017 - Web Site Designer Terry Bane