I'm just back from a wonderful break in Pembrokeshire, island hopping, enjoying the Puffins, and strolling - nay skipping - across miles of golden sands.
While there, I had the pleasure of visiting the National Trust’s Stackpole Estate in west Wales, where the woodland flowers were putting on a grand performance.
Stealing the limelight were copious amounts of Primroses still in flower, an injection of creamy-lemon that seemed to illuminate the ground.
In other places there were dense beds of Wild Garlic, gently wafting their aroma.
Among them on the woodland floor was a supporting cast for the eye to pick between. Sanicle, Wild Strawberry, Dog's Mercury, Honeysuckle, Wild Clematis, Black Briony.
Then there was upright rocket-shaped Bugle, standing like miniature oriental pagodas...
Plus the unfurling fronds of Hart’s-tongue Ferns...
And every now and then, Early Purple Orchids would put in a starring cameo...
Good wildlife-friendly gardening takes inspiration from natural habitats, and the lesson I took from this woodland is all about how glorious our tapestries of native woodland flora can be, rich and diverse and for the most part perennials coming up year after year.
It has made me all the more determined to try and achieve something similar in my garden, recreating a bit of spring woodland glory in shadier corners.
My little woodland is only small, supporting a dozen young trees, but is my favourite area. In the spring it is a riot of colour with all the spring flowers, followed by the dappled shade created by the emerging leaves. It holds a tranquillity only a woodland can. It's a huge hit with the Blackbirds and Thrushes who forage through the leaves on the woodland floor for tasty snacks. Best of all it is so low maintenance, half an hour light weeding in the spring and it looks after its self for the rest of the year..
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