The extra bits...(Under construction).

Monday, 11 May 2015

Wildlife Garden, May update & some insight ....

      As promised here is the latest update to the compromise of a wildlife garden that I'm trying to achieve in my small back yard....

     Now I'm afraid that ye may well be bored with this post as I fully intended to share photographs of the changes that have occurred since my last update, but to be brutally honest I truly couldn't be arsed to take more than a few pictures and was even less inclined to spend the time uploading and checking through them, sorry. So unfortunately this post will one of mostly scribing which has a strong possibility of being laced with the odd bit of Anglo Saxon to boot.

     As I may have mentioned in previous posts concerning this project it is becoming a garden of compromise having to fulfill several functions in a small and suburban setting. It may well not be in a metropolis such as Londonium but it still has its boundaries encroached upon all sides by buildings, roads and the services that go with em, oh god for a lone house on an island or deep in ancient woodland far from the maddening crowd, but that would be an impossible dream, damn & bollocks. Anyway back to the plot once more, as thin as it is. Within this setting I'm trying to create a mini oasis for wildlife and a tranquil place in which to sooth my troubled mind and leave worries behind for a tad. As the garden has evolved within this short time that I've tended it, a picture of what I desire it to resemble has developed within my mind, something akin to a forest glade where one may pause life and catch breath for a moment...


William Trost Richards  1860

      Ok so back to planet earth and I know that I have not a snowball's chance in Hell of having a garden like the picture above, bugger. Ah but that does not mean that my small space cannot become an amphitheatre of peace and a refuge for our ever troubled wildlife, as a not so supermarkets advert chimes out, "every little helps".

    With this in mind I have been giving great though to the hard structure of the garden as well the planting scheme. So during my absence from the blog world I have taken up the slabbed area which was put down in a slap shod and hurried fashion last year...



     ...and laid the whole bloody lot down again in a much more professional way. (Even if I do say so myself)...




     At the same time, well after re-placing the slabs that is, I took down the old retaining wall and rebuilt it, this time without the ton of concrete that held together the supposedly 'dry stone wall'. So now with the wall now laid dry it has plenty of nooks and crannies in with flora may take a hold. The top picture also shows that the wall up to the new steps has in fact been built now as a double wall allowing me to plant an edging of sun loving lavender plants and others that like such conditions. Behind my little Hadrian's wall there is now the beginnings of another area of planting...



     With more planting upon the other side of the garden. 



     The plan being that the planting eventually will form a glade effect by forming a living bowl rising from the yet to be built fish pond to living wall and trellis boundaries.



     Of course not everyone seemed to eager to lend a helping paw, I'm afraid Nelly is just a lazy hound, until feeding time that is.


     The wildlife pond and log area has finally seen an influx of Bees and Hover flies though butterflies are a rare sight as of yet. The introduction of the small amount of Frogspawn has been a success with over twenty very active tadpoles now cruising around the pond, also the Water Hawthorn has decided to put a spurt on doubling its leaves in the last week (it now has four paltry leaves on the surface). 

     And finally, if you're not asleep already you will be after reading the next bit. A list of plantings that have occurred since the last update....

Astilbe x 5, Cotoneaster (Dammeri) x 2, Magnolia (Susan) x 1, Scabiosa (Blue) x 1, Aronia (Melanocarpa Viking) x 3, Chicory seeds, Hardy Fuchsia x 3 (Army Nurse, Dollar Princess & Snowdrop), Red Clover seeds, Erysimum (Fragrant Sunshine) x 1, Delphinium (Pure White) x 1, Hollyhock (Chaters Double Apricot) x 1, Anthemis (Kelwayi) x 1, Achillea (Pot of Gold) x 1, Hart's Tongue Fern x 1, Holly Fern x 1, Hebe (Frozen Flame) x 1, Hebe (Celine) x 1, Agastache (Golden Jubilee) x 1, Hosta (Gold Standard) x 1, Centaurea (Amethyst on Ice) x 1, Bleeding Heart ( Dicentra Luxuriant) x 1, Woodland Strawberry (Fragaria) x 2, Penstemon (Polaris Red) x 2, and finally some bedding plants;- Mesembryanthemum, Stock and Alyssum. 

      Oh nearly forgot, I am expecting delivery of two trees this week both chosen to give height, wind dampening, bird cover, nectar rich flowers and a supply of berries to supplement those provided by the newly planted Aronia (Chokeberry bushes). These are Hawthorn (Paul's Scarlet) and Rowan (Eastern Promise). As well as these I am also expecting a delivery of Frogbit (Hydrocharis) to supplement the Flora in the wildlife pond. 

      So yes early days but slowly working towards that vision of a woodland glade retreat. 

     Until the next time take care of yourselves,

John.


 

29 comments:

  1. You're doing a mighty fine job with that yard. I'd say you've got two green thumbs.

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    1. Thank you Mark, not sure about 'green thumbs', more like aching back!

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  2. oh, it's looking lovely! i adore your pup enjoying the time in the sun. :)

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    1. Thanks Tex, Nelly certainly is a slave to warmth.

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  3. It all looks very good; I'm impressed. Interesting soil you have there, very dark and gravelly; it would probably grow wonderful spuds.

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    1. Thank you my good man, I think the gravelly texture comes from a previous incarnation of the garden when it was laid out as a graveled square, as the garden changed over time the gravel has been mixed in with the soil when other designs occurred. The soil is wonderfully dark but when I started upon this project I was truly surprised with the lack of life within it, such as earthworms, as I turned areas of the garden over. Although now in the areas planted at the end of last year this situation is most definitely improving.

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  4. Well that all sounds wonderful! And your photos show that everything is coming along nicely! I love the fact that you're planting with the little creatures in mind. Butterflies will probably be around later in the year. Tadpoles are cute and bees need all the help they can get.

    I think you're a lovely man, John. Anyone that cares for gardens, dogs, and wildlife is my kind of person!

    Give the pups a scratch behind the ears for me! They sure are adorable!

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    1. Why thank you Jennifer you are most kind, the pups enjoyed their extra scratch ;-)

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  5. who is a clever boy then! Really impressed with what you have achieved so far. Cant wait to see the finished results, not that it ever happens in a garden.

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    1. Thank you Buttercup (love that name), you are right in that a garden is forever evolving, as it should, after all I'm only the keeper of this small area for a blink of an eye in the terms of the world's life story.

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    2. thank you. My mum always used the name Butterbean as a nickname for me. It wasn't until a few months before she died that she told me why. Apparently my dad who died just before I was three called me Buttercup and would not let anyone else call me it. Wish she had told me earlier as I had so little connections with my dad. The joy about the same time as she split the beans was when one of my uncles said to me 'I knew your dad and I really liked him'. Still brings a lump to the throat.

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  6. You are like the Alan Titchmarsh of WALES or summat!

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    1. Ahh shucks Rach, though I don't think I'll be on daytime telly soon ;-)

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  7. We bought a rather sad looking water hawthorn after reading about it here. Hope it grows! Love the garden, already looking like a haven. Nice sculpture in the background.

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    1. Ah success at last! my efforts to encourage folk to think about native plants and nature has finally born fruit. Actually DC m'thinks that that you were a convert way before we 'met'. It's still a slow time of year for the Water Hawthorn but it should start reviving soon. I've just added Frogbit (Hydrocharis) to the pond perhaps you might think to add this native to your water?

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  8. It is looking good, full of promise. I would like to introduce a couple more trees, an elder, for blossoms and berries and a Rowan, also for the berries.

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    1. Thank you Pam, Our small garden already contain three trees when we took over the property last year; A huge Cherry Blossom tree which because of its position and size dominated the whole of the small garden so I'm afraid it had to go, the second is a lovely deep red leaved Acer (which actually attracted small bees to its tiny flowers this year), and in the top left hand corner a purple leaved Elder tree which being totally honest I only identified as Elder last week as I'm learning all the time! It's not as rampant as its wild cousins as are the two trees that I've just planted (both variations upon their native origins) which are a Rowan and Hawthorn. It took me awhile to research the best trees to fit in to this oasis for nature and mind that I'm trying to create but it's well worth the study as the plants are out there.

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  9. Looks great John! Thank you every so much for the pictures. You have a real eye for natural beauty.

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  10. absolutely gorgeous! i think you're already a long way into making it a peaceful retreat....it looks very inviting....such a lot of merry colour and texture. i think that having a small space requires an extra degree of creativity while at the same time giving it that "secret garden" sort of delightfulness....i often survey the vast expanse of wilderness that i'm trying to coerce into some semblance of recognizable "garden" and think wistfully of the tiny patch i had in our last house. my own vision is to create little pockets of sanctuary like you've done with your space.....

    and i can totally relate to the CBA approach to uploading/inspecting photos.....;)

    xo

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    1. "secret garden sort of delightfulness" now that Mel is a term that I may just have to pinch off you :-) Every garden space has different challenges and as I have said many times I am just learning to garden. This approach to wildlife and a 'retreat' for the mind in a such a small garden is testing me but in a thoroughly enjoyable manner. With a 'vast expanse' as you describe your patch I to would go for having pockets of sanctuary perhaps linked via narrow and winding paths through area which are allowing to just grow wild. Certainly I would plant a small woodland of native trees and have a large wildlife pond by which to sit and dream by.

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  11. Love that last photograph and those tulips -you have been busy and your wall will look brilliant once the plants get going -Nelly looks like she's sun bathing in that photo too xxx

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    1. Thank you Trudie, the wall I'm still researching the best way to do and Nelly? definitely a sun worshiper!

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  12. I think it's looking good John, Nelly looks very comfy :)
    Twiggy

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    1. Thanks Twiggy, still a long long way to go. Nelly lives for only two things...food and comfort.

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  13. You should be proud of yourself and your garden John, its looking great.Love all the different variety of plants you have put in and particularly the small tree up in back left corner in the 5th photo. The stone walls are looking good and the path . Nice to see nelly soaking up the sun and bear enjoying the garden ...looking like a peaceful place to just sit and enjoy the scenery.
    Take care * Bron

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    1. Thank you Bron, the tree you mention is an Acer. The garden is slowly becoming more peaceful place as I am my dear x

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  14. Your garden is absolutely amazing, a proper haven, look forward to more posts x

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  15. Thank you HT, and welcome to my blog

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