It’s now mid-November, so the growing season in Cumbria UK, the home of Grazers, is well and truly over. Maybe some persistent plant predators like rabbits, pigeon or deer will continue to bring a bit of demand for our Grazers products in the UK, perhaps even the odd slug or snail will need to be persuaded not to attack a precious garden plant. However, essentially our job is done for this year and we are now thinking ahead to next year, planning the best ways to help our customers get ahead of their predictable plant pests. By contrast, in hopefully warmer and sunnier regions like those of our New Zealand friends, the growing season is just getting underway, so it’s an exciting time for our fellow keen gardeners in the southern hemisphere. It’s likely that New Zealand gardeners are more used to conversations around preventing invasive species and seeking to protect their indigenous plant or animal species than we are in the UK. Nevertheless, the wider topic of restoring a ‘natural balance’ is now becoming common to all regions, with a growing desire to reduce the indiscriminate control of pests, instead favouring more natural means of growing garden plants. With gardening increasing in popularity during the covid pandemic and increasing numbers of growers wanting to prioritise the sustainable environment in the spaces they are growing their plants. It’s perhaps unsurprising therefore that this year we have seen a rise in demand for products addressing the restoration of a natural balance in garden ecology, such as Grazers. It’s now clear that biodiversity is essential for us all to thrive, so therefore, so must all the components of the food web. From the soil microbes, to worms and insects, spiders, slugs and snails through to frog, birds and up to foxes and deer. They all play a part and do not exist in isolation. Whilst still growing all the same flowers or vegetable we all want, though instead of trying to rigorously control all the surroundings by use of products that kill and remove anything we don’t want, use different strategies that give our nature a chance to re-stablish, as well as usually being less costly overall. Under the theme of ‘Natural Balance’, this year Grazers has set out to discuss how we can all do simple things to redress the balance of nature in our immediate surroundings to achieve a more harmonious existence between our plants, the vital insects and other wildlife that depend on each other to live, including us humans. Unless an invasive species, the indigenous plant ‘pests’ we all have to endure could realistically be considered to be ‘wildlife’ in their own right, indeed, vital components of the natural food web that we need to enhance. Obviously we need to keep both weeds and pests under some type of control to give our favoured garden plants a chance, though over the next few weeks we will explore ways to accept the existence of both for achieve ‘Natural Balance’ and promote the next banner headline for Grazers; ‘Gardening for Wildlife’.