Cre­ate your gar­den patch from scratch

Ed­i­tor Matt’s hard work in cre­at­ing a gar­den for all wildlife has been reap­ing div­i­dends, as he re­veals here

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents - WORDS: MATT MER­RITT

Matt’s been eval­u­at­ing what’s been work­ing hard for the wildlife in his gar­den

WHEN I STARTED try­ing to cre­ate a wildlife gar­den back in Jan­uary, the main aim was to en­sure that there’s plenty of nat­u­ral food avail­able through­out the year, and as au­tumn draws on, I’ve been pleased to no­tice that a few happy ac­ci­dents are helping to ful­fil that aim.

The Honey­suckle we in­her­ited from the pre­vi­ous own­ers is one of those. We cut it back in the spring, then trained it up the fence, and it has been a huge at­trac­tion for the bees and but­ter­flies through­out the warmer months. It’s now got a good crop of bright red berries, which pro­vide food for thrushes, war­blers such as Black­caps, and maybe even a species I’d dearly love to tempt into the gar­den – the Bullfinch (I heard one pip­ing a cou­ple of hun­dred yards away, so there’s hope). The Dog­wood we planted, on the other hand, has found it­self over­shad­owed by one of our bud­dleias, so we’ll learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence and cut the bud­dleia back hard in the spring.

The other un­ex­pected suc­cess has been the stonecrop we planted round the pond – this hardy plant (so called, sup­pos­edly, be­cause it’s as easy to care for as a stone) is flow­er­ing beau­ti­fully in early au­tumn, pro­vid­ing food for bees and but­ter­flies, as demon­strated in the pic­ture be­low. Suitably en­cour­aged, we’ve planted some more in a cou­ple of the borders. We’ve had a good year for am­phib­ians, and a Vierno Froglu (£4.49 from CJ Wildlife, pic­tured top right) next to the pond will give them some­where to shel­ter and stay hid­den dur­ing the day (they’ve found plenty of slugs to eat by night). You can achieve the same ef­fect, though, and also of­fer cover for rep­tiles, by us­ing a ridged roof tile as a refugium – place it where it’s sta­ble, and with enough of a gap for some­thing to get un­der­neath. I’ve put up a wicker roost­ing pod for Wrens and other small birds to use in the colder weather (pic­tured be­low) and added a sprig of Laven­der (an­other plant that’s done very well) to the bird bath. Only one new bird species to add to the

list this month, a loose group of four or five Sky Larks that flew over one morn­ing, pre­sum­ably head­ing to warmer climes. Cer­tainly noth­ing as ex­cit­ing as the Manx Shear­wa­ter that popped up in a gar­den in Dunchurch, just down the road (which was taken into care and sub­se­quently re­leased). So what next? Well, the cor­ner of the gar­den con­tain­ing our small shed gets plenty of sun, so I’m look­ing at the pos­si­bil­ity of giv­ing it a green roof, and plant­ing a fruit tree of some sort in a space that we’ve cleared in the nearby bor­der. Watch this space!

Bright red berries, which should pro­vide food for thrushes, war­blers such as Black­caps, and maybe even a Bullfinch

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.