Monday, 3 March 2014

Ladybird Love

People often say dogs are man's best friend but not if he is a gardener. I reckon a gardener's best friend has got to be the ladybird. I love them 'cos:

a. They are pretty
b. They are fun to draw
c. They eat lots of bad bugs in the garden

In my latest blog I will regale you with lots of interesting facts on ladybirds, tips on how to encourage them into your garden as well as a cool craft project featuring our spotty friends. And I will even tell you about some funky ladybird flowers to grow... 

The ladybird - one of the prettiest and most useful of garden insects
Did you know:
  • There are over 5000 species of ladybirds worldwide.
  • Most ladybirds feed exclusively on aphids (greenfly, blackfly etc.) which is why we gardeners love them so much. They can eat up to 5000 in a life-time! That's a bug banquet! But, get this, there are some species in South Africa which are vegetarian. Just like my Mummy!
  • Ladybirds are more effective than poisonous chemicals.
  • Their vibrant colours not only make them pretty to us but also acts as warning to predators.
  • Not all ladybirds have spots - some have stripes!
Did you know some ladybirds have stripes?!
  • Ladybirds are called ladybugs in the US.
  • A common myth is that the number of spots on a ladybird's back indicates its age. The most common ladybird in the UK has seven spots.
  • Ladybirds are thought to be named after the Virgin Mary who often wore a red cloak in early paintings. The seven spots relate to the seven joys and sorrows of Mary.
So, we can see why we would want to have our little spotty friends in the garden, but how do we get them here? :
  • Incorporate plants that ladybirds love into your garden. Plants such as tulips, lillies, fennel, dill, geraniums, angelica and cosmos are favourites. 
  • Make a ladybird house and a ladybird feeder. We will blog about how to do this soon. 
  • You can buy them online! Whatever next?! Wonder if you can add them to your grocery list? 
There are lots of ways to
entice ladybirds to your garden

You can also go one step further and have your very own ladybird inside the house. Here's how...

Make Your Own Ladybird

You will need:

  • Paper plate
  • Card
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Googly eyes
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Red and black paint
To make:

1. Turn your paper plate upside down and paint it red and leave it to dry. Then paint a black line down the middle of the ladybird's back.

Yay, painting,almost as fun as gardening!

2. Cut out some spots and a ladybird's head from the card and paint them black and leave to dry. 

I added seven spots to my ladybird, the
most commonly found type in the UK

3. Glue on the ladybird's head and spots.

Carefully glue your spots in place

4. Cut the pipe cleaners to the right size and attach them onto the underside so three pop out on either side to make legs.

Add pipe cleaners to make the legs

6. Glue on the googly eyes.

I do love a googly eye!

There you have it, your very own ladybird to enjoy whenever you want.

Hello little ladybug!
And if you want to add a splash of red with black spots to your garden, even when our friendly bugs are not around, sow some of these funky ladybird seeds in the garden. I will share images of what I have done with mine in weeks to come. It's gonna involve some more funky upcycling!

I am gonna do something funky
involving upcycling with these seeds.
So, there you have it. All the why's and how's of having a ladybird in your life. 

Hugs and kisses, 

Lulu xxx 

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