My garden & its progess to being more nature friendly

I live in Inverness, Scotland. My garden is very small, and i can't do too much with it as i am in a rented property. When i first moved in there was the main plants (2 trees & 2 bushes (1 was practically dead) Since then i have somehow managed to revive one of the bushes, revive a clematis that had once grown up the wall (all that was left was a hard sump by the front door) and a fushia bush, which was a hard stump in the ground. I have tried to get more and more flowers into the garden, some working, some not.

Gardening stoped for a while when i got my BC puppy who decided that the fish box was for digging and rolling in than for flowers....

Last year i managed to make my own raised bed, which i put some flowers into.... it was looking ok until winter set in. I also tried to plant wild flowers under one of the trees which has worked, but it has taken a bit of abuse as my dog does like to go into the corner when she see's people and trys to be with them the length of the garden. but she has now learned to go as far as the rock border! Break through! I also planted a Honey Suckle cutting allong side the clematis and it is starting to grow and even gave me a flower and berries.

At the start of this year i put up a bird cam box, and i have now got a blue tit resting in it for shelter. so here's hoping that i get a family in the next nesting season.I also put up a beasty hotel on the side of my shed, but had to move it as the clematis was growing over it and a spider took up residence, so it is on the other side of the shed, but yet again another spider has taken up residence, so insted of it being a beasty hotel, its more like a prison... but at least something is making use of it.

This year i have alot planned, and any ideas would be much apprecated. To start with i will re-do my main planter, as my order of 500 bulbs of various flowers has arrived, So i hope this planter will have flowers from jan - Dec. I have a range of sizes too, so there will be plenty for insects in my garden i hope.

Next i plan on making another raised bed,this will replace the fishbox and will be for growning some vegetables such as Small round carrots, lettice, rocket, garlic,chives and red oinions. Any help here would e great i have never tried growing veg before. I will also re pot my strawberry plants into my hanging basket so that the slugs don't get to them as easily!

At the same time i plan on filling a pot/small planter with herbs for my dog, such as lavender, mint, marigold,catnip, wheatgrass and believe it or not....Dandelions (which up til now i thought were poisonous, so dug up)

I hope to buy copper tape and put it around all my planters and pots to stop slugs from getting to them, is there any other eco ways to keep them at bay??

I hope to build 2 hedgehog houses one for underneith the spikey bush, another to go behind the shed and be covered with branches and logs to act as insulation and to make a house for beasties as well.

I will post some photos of what the garden currently looks like, and hopefully some photos of what it looks like afterwards, Any further ideas on how to improve my garden would be great.

  • Hello Lucy and welcome to the community from me up in Caithness. I must say that you say you have a small garden. Well with all the things you have done and all the things you are going to do, it is going to be some garden. Flowers, shrubs, raised beds, veggies, fruit, herbs, beastie house, trees. Well done you. The only thing I could suggest is some hanging feeders for the birds, nuts, seeds, fat cakes etc. Enjoy.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Hello and welcome from Mitcham in Surrey. It sounds like you are making progress and have plenty of ideas. Is that a Pyracantha next to the house? If so, you should have plenty of small birds in there during the Spring and Summer, especially if you are fortunate enough to have House Sparrows. Keep us posted on developments.

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)


  • In reply to monkeycheese:

    Well done Lucy on all the progress you have already made and the rest of the plans you have in mind, its nice to hear from folk who really make a huge effort to make their garden not only attractive and colourful but also welcoming to birds and wildlife, congrats on all your wonderful efforts and good luck with the rest of your ideas, keep us posted :)  


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Not got any particular ideas to add (Catlady's suggestion of hanging some feeders around is what I would also do) but just wanted to say how interesting it was to read of all your efforts.  Will look forward to seeing more photos in the future as you progress.

    See my Flickr photos here


  • In reply to ChristineB:

    <p> Hi everyone, Thanks for making me feel so welcome, I’m delighted to have found this site. I’ve had a very busy weekend in the garden and have actually managed to do quite a lot of what I had on my to do list</p>

    <p>Firstly I managed to re-do my 2 layered planter…that was a bigger job than I had actually realised. First removed all flowers, then mixed the soil as at the start of the year I had done the base with manure and then top soil, I was surprised to see that a lot of the poop was still there, so its now all mixed, n’ seems pretty gd (tho I am no expert on how good soil looks lol) I then “borrowed” my partners tarp for covering one of his cars and shovelled ¾ out then put a couple of layer of bulbs… there is now at least 300 bulbs in the planter. (i gave some to a friend who's garden looks like a building site!) I am hoping that these bulbs do as I hope so I have loads of flowers, in turn loads of insects and hopefully more birds and wildlife… here’s hoping my hard work will pay off. I still have to re-plant the plants that I dug up so that’s tonight’s job. I was delighted to see that the bulbs I had planted earlier in the year have got baby bulbs attached to them, are you best leaving them attached or taking them off and spreading? I left as wasn’t sure</p>

    <p> One thing I did notice that I thought was strange is that I came across some grubs in the soil, but when picked out they were all dead, not one of them moved when poked…they were cream with brown heads, so put them on the bird table as didn’t want grubs n’ new bulbs. But anyone have any idea why they were all dead? </p>

    <p> MC it is a Pyracantha that I have in the garden, it got a trim back into shape so is now ready for next years new growth. I have a couple of house sparrows that visit, along with Robins (I had one as a site manager) Blue tits, loads of starlings, 2 carrion crows and the odd chaffinch, but none of these seem to be interested in the Pyracantha berries, it’s laden with orange berries, which are now turning black so will be cut of next weekend. Any ideas why? </p>

    <p> I make my own bird fat balls, as the birds prefer them, they’re cheaper than shop bought ones, and I know what’s in the one’s I make. They get hung on the bird multi feeding station and in the tree behind.  When I was busy working I had a group of starlings sitting on my roof, chattering away as if complaining that the fat balls were all eaten and fresh had not been put out – so of I popped and put some out and took ½ hour break, wasn’t even in the door and they were all fighting and bickering for the best branch to feed off…they’re greedy, noisy but I just think there so characterful, well after allowing them to feed I carried on work outside and ½ the feed id put out was gone! it’s a good thing I have a small freezer full!</p>

    <p> I weeded the garden and all pots, cut back the roses, gooseberry, and grapes. The clematis by the door has been cut back to the stump, but left the honeysuckle (it’s still only a small vine, with a wee bunch of berries on the end – would it be better for it to be cut back as I have done so with the clematis to encourage more growth? Strawberry plants were re potted too so hopefully out of the reach of any slugs… </p>

    <p> Down the side of the shed has been cleared (in the hopes that if there’s a wee hedgehog around he will have a safer access into and out of my garden as noting will be able to attack him – also one of the entrance/exit to the box I plan to make will lead into this corridor)</p>

    <p> Next weekend’s plan of action is to go any buy some wood to make a planter for my veggies so I can finally replace the fish box. Will be buying a lot of copper tape to go around all planters to try and keep these pesky snails n’ slugs at bay! Still need to tidy the back of the shed, and find plants that like a sheltered shady spot, any ideas? As it will be beside the hedgehog house I plan to make. the hedgehog house I’m thinking about making, will be out of a pallet we have lying around…but would this wood be untreated? How do I know?</p>

    <p> How do you post photos on here? I’m still trying to get to grips with this site. As I took some to give you an idea of what I’m working on etc. I love to see what you guys are creating, and doing, the ideas you have and also the wildlife you have around you I find completely amazing.</p>

  • In reply to LucyL:

    *note to self, for comments no code required lol!

  • In reply to LucyL:

    Lucy with all that you have done in your "little" garden, it has made me exhausted even reading all about it!!

    I am an amateur gardener and am still learning. I would leave all the little babies on the bulbs. Not sure what the beasties were or why they were all dead. You can get weavels, which you don't want in pots/containers as they will kill what's in them. The berries turning black are like the rose hip berries on the wild Ragusa rose that are now turning the same. Not sure how you will know if the wood has been treated or not. I would have thought it would look a slightly different colour. [Wood we bought for a new fence had this]. As for the photos, one of the clever IT people will be able to help. If I have given any incorrect advice I am sure I will be corrected. Look forward to any photos and updates.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Thanks for the advice Catlady :) I find that i'm learning every day too, it facinates me how much there is to just "gardening" well i found out that not all the grubs were dead, there was a couple left on the bird table at lunch when i went home and a couple were moving (extreamly slowly) I have done a bit of google surfing and discovered they are Chafer larvae, seems like i've done the right thing in removing them, as eat roots etc, it reccomends using parasitic nematode (as eco friendly) have you tried these? Yea as soon as i find out how to post on here i will, but till then i have just learnt to put on my gallery??

  • In reply to LucyL:

    Hi Lucy have a read through this thread and you will get some tips on how to post your photos in this

    My Flickr photos

  • In reply to Alan.:

    Hi, Lucy. I wouldn't worry about cutting back the honeysuckle; they are usually quite vigorous plants. It would benefit from regular feeding during the growing season at first if it's a bit weedy, but slow the feeding down if it starts putting on too much growth.

    A high potash (potassium) feed will encourage flowering and berries. If you want to avoid artificial fertilisers, look at organic vegetable and fruit fertilisers, particularly for tomatoes. I've used this on roses with good results. Although more expensive initially, the packets last quite a long time in a small garden.

    There's been some recent research about growing plants in pots outside. We used to change the compost before replanting with bulbs but it's not really necessary. Although the compost will be devoid of nutrients, it can be re-used for bulbs which grow from the energy contained within them. Just feed them when the flowers are over because the leaves are the source of energy for the following year's growth.

    I always left perennial plants in pots alone for much longer than advised and only topped up the compost where necessary after weeding; I made sure they were fed regularly and they always grew well. My dwarf blueberry bushes have been in the same pots and compost for 5 years with just a little top-up when I took out weeds and moss to cover any exposed roots. There was a bumper crop this year.

    It was the same for the raised beds for vegetables. A mulch of home made garden compost over the autumn and winter and toping up with fress balanced compost in the spring kept the soil level the same and improved the quality.