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Dragonflies in your garden

Great Britain is home to over 30 species of dragonfly, those colourful iridescent darters that are a treat to watch and a great gnat controller to boot.  Dragonflies and their generally smaller cousin’s damselflies are a welcome addition to any garden pond, and they are easy to attract if you can provide the right habitat.  Different species adapt to a range of habitats, but the keys are clean water, plentiful shelter and insects for them to eat.

 

A sheltered, sunny pond with a good border of water plants as well as submerged and emerging plants will offer a very satisfactory breeding ground.  Submerged plant life is necessary for larvae to survive, and emerging plants such as flowering rush and water mint give the developing dragons a place to climb up and out when they are ready to take to the air as adults.  If your pond is situated near larger shrubs and trees, so much the better, as they provide additional shelter and food sources.

 

The pond does not need to be large or deep; it should definitely have shallow, gently sloping margins to support the aquatic plant life and provide a larval habitat.  Most experts say the depth need not be more than two feet at its deepest, just enough to provide shelter from predators.  Light coloured flat rocks near the perimeter make ideal perching and basking areas.  Don’t mow the edges; tall grasses and flowering plants attract other insects for dragons and damsels to feed on, as well as providing perches and shelter.



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