A Growing Garden with Room for Visitors.
Time has moved on so quickly since we moved, it’s nearly six years already, and much has changed since the rough plan in ‘Bug Man #3’, so here’s a plan of what it looks like now…
It’s a garden that provides a great deal of pleasure for my family, we picnic on the lawn, jump around on the trampoline, splash in a summertime paddling pool and drive winter drifts into snowmen. It’s productive too, with a variety of veg, eggs from our chickens and flowers from the borders; in a few years we also hope to be getting a crop from our new fruit trees, trained to fences around the borders.
What is already in place?
My boys have become interested in nature as they’ve grown; they are keen to point out insects, birds and other animals and I do my best to ensure that the garden is attractive to such creatures. A pond is often the most valuable provision you can make for wildlife but with young children we felt it wise not to create one (at least not yet!). In this instant I rely on a fundamental truth that I tell many people, look around you, what is already in place? You have a small garden? What’s around it? What don’t you need to provide yourself? What have the neighbours already got? I am pleased to say that the farmer next door has a couple of nice ponds!
An environment that encourages food chains to develop
I like to leave some small areas of the garden untidy, long grass is ideal for the life cycles of various moths and other invertebrates. Leaving these areas and the borders uncut over winter provides shelter and growing plants that give nectar over a long season is important too. The weirdest thing about folks such as myself is that we promote an environment that encourages food chains to develop. The butterfly I may have admired on my buddleia is soon taken as food by some insectivorous bird which itself may fall foul of the local sparrow hawk! But it’s all about diversity of life, a richness of experience and that works for me.
I bank up the edges of borders to encourage small mining bees, use wood in many of my garden structures to actively encourage the tiniest of decomposers, lichens and fungi. I’ve even attached an old teapot to a wall for the local robin to nest in, although it took a liking to a more spacious ‘watering can’ last year!
There is still much to do, gaps in flowering to fill, projects to complete, successions to plant and records to keep but I’m hoping this blog will be able to show you the wildlife that comes to this little corner of Suffolk
Next time I’ll be looking at some of my first findings, friendly and otherwise.