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Little Gardeners’ Academy

Learn about your garden and how things grow.

Fun Facts

Did you know?

The leaves of the Mimosa plant go to sleep, just like humans do.

When it’s dark, the leaves close up and when the sun is up, the leaves open again!

In Costa Rica the plant is called “Dormilona” which means “Sleepy Head”!

Butterflies can’t fly if they’re cold.

Butterflies need an ideal body temperature of about 85ºF to fly and since they’re cold-blooded animals, they can’t regulate their own body temperatures.

Some plants are carnivorous and like eating insects and spiders. Just like the Venus Flytrap!

Butterflies taste with their feet!

Taste receptors on a butterfly’s feet help it find its host plant and locate food.

The world record for the longest carrot is a gigantic 19 feet and 1.96 inches! That’s nearly 6 metres long!

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Garden Wildlife

Bees

As well as their buzzzzzzzzzzzz-ing noise and furry bodies, bees are perhaps best known for being brilliant pollinators. They buzz from flower to flower transporting pollen, which fertilises the flowers so they can reproduce and make more flowers grow.

Bees are attracted to flowers by their scent, colour or nectar and it’s important to plant bee-friendly flowers in the garden so they can carry on doing their very important job.

Honey bees make honey from pollen and nectar collected from flowers. They live in large colonies with one queen and a lot of her workers! And did you know there are 24 species of bumblebee in the UK? Imagine the buzzing noise if they all got together!

Click here to find out more about buzzy bees and how to keep them happy!

Birds

Birds are great to watch and with their cheery chirping, they are great to listen to as well! Our feathered friends also like to help out with pollination as well as keeping the number of insects in the garden under control.

Birds, like us need food, water, and shelter and one way you can help them is to have a bird feeder in the garden, especially during winter when there is less food around for them.

Common birds to look out for in the garden are blue tits, sparrows, blackbirds and robins.

Have a pair of binoculars handy so you can count the number of birds in your garden!

Butterflies

As well as being beautiful to look at, butterflies help pollinate plants, just like bees. They get the nectar from one flower and then fly to another to help pollination. In many places in the world the number of butterflies is decreasing and some species of butterfly are even in danger of becoming extinct. One way to help butterflies is to plant wildlife attracting flowers.

Why not keep a diary with all the pretty butterflies you spot in your own garden!

Dragonflies

There are about 5,300 species of dragonfly and some have lived on earth for millions of years! Dragonflies possess six legs (like any other insect), but most of them cannot walk very well! Dragonflies are among the fastest flying insects in the world – some large dragonflies have a speed of 10-15 metres per second! That’s fast for an insect!

See if you can spot one!

Earwigs

Earwigs are cool looking insects!

Although they have a pair of little pincers (like a crab!), they are actually harmless creatures who rest during the day in dark hiding places and come out at night. They help out in the garden by eating other garden pests.

Green Fly

The Green Fly is part of the aphid family. They are usually about 2mm in length and are quite plump. Whilst they are often known to be a pest in the garden, they are a source of food for birds and other insects, which means they are more useful than you would think!

Did you know, aphids come in all sorts of colours? As well as green they can be yellow, black, white, brown or even pink!

Hoverflies

Hoverflies are important pollinators. They particularly like flowers such as daisies. There are about 250 different hoverfly species in Britain and some have very interesting names like the Marmalade Hoverfly! Although these brightly-coloured insects look like bees or wasps, they don’t sting.

See if you can spot them hovering above the flowers in your garden!

Ladybirds

Ladybirds are actually from the beetle family and are easily recognisable from their bright red wings with black spots. The commonest species are the smaller two-spot and larger seven-spot ladybirds, although about 40 others can be found in the British Isles.

Did you know ladybirds are sometimes known as ladybugs? Cute!

Slugs & Snails

Slugs and snails are mostly seen when the weather is wet and cool. They hide under stones and other things during the day and come out at night. Slime trails are a clue! Birds munch on these funny looking creatures, so they are an important garden resident.

Do you know where a snail’s eyes are? They are actually on the end of the longest pair of tentacles on its head! The shorter pair of tentacles is used for smelling and feeling its way around.