Blogger: Adam Murray, Communications Officer

Things are hotting up. Next step is looking at what you have in your garden and what you would like to keep and what would be on your new wish list of goodies.

Phase 2: Embrace the wildlife and removing the not very [wildlife] friendly stuff

□     Design your unique garden

□     Remove the non-native shrubs

□     Remove gravel and some concrete to improve drainage and stop my 3 year old throwing gravel everywhere.

So before I went any further I had to be practical. Not only do I want my garden to be a home for wildlife but I need it to be family friendly. Interestingly, someone on Twitter yesterday asked me what family UN-friendly would look like. How about this?

 

Mrs M and I sat down and thought about how to give our garden that unique personal touch. We came up with a list of all our favourite plants and “happy place” items. This didn’t include our old swimming pool we had in Fiji or a coconut tree but you get the general idea from our wish lists. We did initially ask our Little Chief but his thoughts were less structured shall we say.

 

For the Family Wish List

□     Patio for dining

□     Outdoor kitchen

□     Shade above patio – sail?

□     Lawn for playing

□     Shed for storage

□     Hammock – need posts to hang?

□     Path to back gate for buggy access

□     Vegetable patch

□     Herb patch

□     Fruiting tree

□     Den, tepee, climbing holds, rope swing, roly-poly grass mound ?

 

For the Wildlife Wish List (refer back to original Giving Nature a Home FREE guide)

□     Pond

□     Lawn with long grass edges

□     Nectar rich flowers

□     Deadwood piles

□     Feeding station inc. water bath

□     Wildlife homes – bird box, bug homes, frogitat, hogitat, bat box, swift box

□     Gabions with hidey holes for wildlife

□     Green roof on shed

 

Plant List

□     Cherry tree

□     Nectar rich flowers

  • Poppies
  • Alliums
  • Dahlias
  • Honeysuckle
  • Cornflower

□     Succulents e.g. sedums

□     Echinacea purpurea

□     Ferns

□     Cowslips

□     Teasels

□     Snakes head fritillary

□     Snow drops

□     Blue bells

□     Jasmine

□     Agapanthus orientalis

□     Michalmas daisies

□     Horsetail

□     Grasses

□     Frangipani?

□     Hibiscus?

□     Bamboo?

 

Now we knew what we wanted we took a look out the backdoor and thought about how we could work with what we have (including our budget). This is what I came up with in the first instance.

I think you will agree, not too shabby, considering – maybe I should become a Duplo garden designer ;-) After getting the nod from Mrs M – I brought in the muscle – well my brother, sister and I. Cheers Matt & Em. We used my limited tools (amazing what you can do with one rusty spade and 6 "guns") to rip out all the shrubs that were taking over the garden, leaving behind our amazing ivy/hawthorn/a.n.other hedge for cover for the birds and bugs. I should add at this point that this occurred a few months ago (checking for early nesting birds) and the apocalyptic pile of evergreen shrubs then sat in our garden for about 6 weeks until I finally found a weekend that I could visit my friendly recycling depot. Please refer back to my first blog post in the Operation Wild Times series, the clue is in the title.

Next Time: Phase 3: Adding in the new (family or wildlife friendly) stuff

For more information on some top wildlife friendly plants take a look at this BBC blog http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/22433553

RSPB Giving Nature a Home guide.pdf
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