We humans do love to put names to things. It means that the world of garden minibeasts can seem quite impenetrable because they can be so difficult to identify.
It is nice, therefore, to find a creature that is relatively easy to tell apart from the others. So here is one I photographed in my garden this July.
To give you a sense of scale, it is about the size of a Honeybee, but is clearly darker and much stouter. Look closely and you will notice the yellow marks on its knees, but especially the yellow dots down its sides
This is the Wool Carder Bee, a species of solitary bee that is found throughout much of lowland England and Wales in gardens and on allotments. The northern edge of its range it poorly known and it may be expanding northwards.
The great thing about Wool Carder Bees is that it is easy to provide its three main home needs:
Yes, the eggs are laid within a protective woollen cocoon, built from fibres collected from the leaves of fluffy plants.
Perhaps the best plant of all is Lamb's-ear (Stachys byzantina), which offers nectar and pollen and the craziest of shaggy leaves.
This is the moment this year when a male who had been lying in wait pounced on a female as she visited my Lamb's-ears for a spot of nectar.
So plant Lamb's-ear next year and you've a good chance that you will have created another Home for Nature.
A couple of weekends ago, while on a walk along the coast near my home, it was sad to see all the bushes bare of leaves, reduced to colourless twiggy skeletons.
All, that is, except for this one:
What a beauty! Its leaves were still almost all in place and were set off by a dense crop of bubblegum-pink fruits.
This is a small native tree that hides its light under a bushel for the rest of the year, and only now shines brightly - it is the Spindle.
So I was delighted to see that a Blackbird was pecking away at the fruits (it had scuttled deep within the bush by the time I had got my camera out). Then up pops a Robin doing exactly the same.
In fact, the Spindle's berries are a particular favourite of Robins, so much so that in parts of Germany the tree is known as the Rotkehlchenbrot, or Robin's Bread.
What birds tend to do is wait until the pink fruits are ripe enough that they split, revealing a bright orange seed inside (or at least the fleshy seed-casing, called the aril, is orange).
The birds then eat the aril, and either pass the seed later in their droppings or regurgitate it. Song Thrushes and Blackcaps will also eat Spindle berries.
Were the Spindle not such an anonymous tree during spring and summer, perhaps more would be grown in gardens and more birds would benefit as a result.
So the good news is that there is a cultivated version with added attraction to human eyes. It is called 'Red Cascade' and its leaves turn fiery red in autumn. Growing only to about 5m tall, it is fine for even quite small gardens, although beware that the fruits are somewhat poisonous. Look for it under its scientific name of Euonymous europaeus 'Red Cascade', and you too could soon be feeding bread to your Robins the natural way.
One of the biggest joys of gardening for wildlife for me is feeling that I have responsibility for a piece of this world of ours. It may only be a little piece, but it is still part of the living surface of the only living planet we know of in the universe. What a privilege! And what an opportunity to make it as rich as possible for life.
What you can't control, however, is what goes on over the garden fence. And this week something happened next door to me that will have profound effects on what wildlife will visit my garden.
Now the garden that backs onto mine has been untouched for over 15 years; the elderly former resident never even ventured into the garden. The garden had gone the way most of Britain would if left to its own devices - a pioneer woodland.
But early one morning this week as I was heading to work, I heard the unmistakeable whirr of a chainsaw starting up.
By the next morning, the change was startling:
Now the new owners have every right to do that, of course, and many of the trees were way too close to their house.
What will be interesting is what changes it will bring to my garden. Those were trees in which dozens of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers stopped off in spring and autumn, and where I've seen migrant Spotted Flycatchers and Pied Flycatchers, Song Thrushes and Fieldfares, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Goldcrests. The trees were also the main stepping stones down to my feeders for Greenfinches and Chaffinches.
But the trees also heavily shaded my garden, making it far less suitable for butterflies, dragonflies and pollinating insects, and reducing the number of flowering plants I could grow. So some creatures could do very well by the new situation.
I do hope, however, that a little bit of life is put back into the piece of the planet next to mine, and I hope I can provide the new owners with a bit of encouragement along the way