My agenda

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Contents -

Jon Madge on how gar­den plan­ning helps birds, bats and pol­li­na­tors

VOL­UN­TEER­ING FOR DEVON WILDLIFE TRUST’S GAR­DEN GROUP HAS GIVEN ME A CHANCE TO USE MY SKILLS TO BEN­E­FIT WILDLIFE, SAYS JON MADGE.

When I joined the gar­den group four years ago, we were tasked with mak­ing the wildlife gar­den at Crick­lepit Mill – the Trust’s head­quar­ters – more pre­sentable, but weren’t given much more of a steer than that, so we came up with our own plan. The first thing we did was put in a bee and but­ter­fly bor­der for pol­li­na­tors. We’d no­ticed the lack of in­sect va­ri­ety in the gar­den be­cause there was noth­ing to draw them in. By putting in a va­ri­ety of wild­flow­ers – such as rose­mary, laven­der, cat­mint and asters – there is now some­thing in flower for most of the year. We’ve also cut up bam­boo canes for ma­son bees and we had our first emer­gence this year. One of our vol­un­teers is an am­a­teur botanist, and she has recorded up to 200 plant species in the gar­den now – nearly dou­ble the num­ber when we be­gan. We’re build­ing a small pond, and have put in bird and bat boxes. We hope it can be a show­case for what other peo­ple can do in their own gar­dens. Work­ing here has boosted my con­fi­dence. I was at a low ebb when I started – I’d been made re­dun­dant af­ter 15 years work­ing as a plan­ner – and it has al­lowed me to use my gar­den de­sign and project man­age­ment skills. I’m study­ing for an RHS Level 3 Hor­ti­cul­ture Cer­tifi­cate, and I’m hop­ing that I can even­tu­ally get a job work­ing full time some­where like the Na­tional Trust. But it’s also nice when peo­ple come round the gar­den and just say how lovely it looks.

Check­ing in: Crick­lepit Mill’s bug ho­tel.

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