It’s the morning after two nights before. You’ve worked hard, partied hard – so hard that you’ve slept for twenty-four hours straight.

As you emerge from your slumber, you can feel your brain pulsating against your skull, the simple task of raising a hand feels close to impossible and your mouth is so dry you can only pronounce vowels. You need fluids and carbs, in any order, but you need them now.

You drag yourself to the kitchen but the water has been cut off. You open the fridge and cupboard doors only to find a mouldy orange and some out of date powdered soups. The nearest shop is a ten-minute drive but there’s no petrol in your car. So you muster the energy to walk, it’s painful but the thought of some sustenance keeps you going. You make it but the shop that was there last time you checked has been knocked down to make way for a new block of luxury apartments. Welcome to the world of a pollinator. 

Yes, the life of early pollinators like bees and hibernating butterflies can be notoriously tricky. One minute there’s sweet, juicy dandelions, the next there’s shredded grass. It’s not just our pollinators who suffer at this time of year either, natural havens (often perceived as “weeds”) are enthusiastically “cleared” depriving birds and wildlife of much-needed shelter, nesting spaces and food sources. Already I’ve watched swathes of early pollen-rich grasslands massacred and tonnes of life-saving brambles cleared, all in the name of “neatness”. 

If you care about the impact of litter on nature, you need to be pathological about the devastation of neatness. 

It’s 2021 and while the mirage of picture-perfect lives on social media are still with us, at least we are now more educated about the illusions of editing and Photoshop. Yet when it comes to nature and our gardens there is still a grave mismatch between what is good and what is beautiful. 

We don’t need to read the State of Nature report to know there’s something going on.  Anyone with one eye open or an ear to the ground can recognise the deficit inflicted on our wildlife in less than a generation. Those same Summer road trips that would result in your reg plate being caked in unfortunate bugs have in recent years yielded a mere splattering of smudges. A Rothko has turned into a Pollock, how long before it becomes a Gianni Motti ‘Invisible Ink Drawing’? 

Without the fly, there is no spider, without the spider there is no bird…  I don’t care why there is no fly, perhaps we’ll die?

From apples to vanilla, from tequila and tea, so much of the fresh produce we enjoy comes from a direct relationship with natural pollinators. Tomatoes, strawberries, cocoa, sugarcane… Life with bugs is beautiful. Let’s celebrate them for the beauty they bring us and help them to thrive so we can too. 

So celebrate the dandelions, revel in the brambles and roll in the long grass. Take pride in the wildness of your space and if you’re still not convinced, get a camera out and start exploring, you’ll be dumbfounded by the beauty you’ve created! 

If you’re keen for some tips on helping our mighty minibeasts here’s a couple of things that I’ve found very inspiring: 

The Jungle Garden, book by Dave Goulson 

The British Garden, Life and Death on Your Lawn    BBC feature with Chris Packham

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