Wildlife gardening on allotments

This wasn’t what I planned to write about today – I’d intended to document the process of clearing and readying a strawberry bed for winter – but once I started work, on Sunday, it became obvious that I wasn’t going to get the whole thing done in a day, so I’m postponing that particular process until later in the week and instead showing you how the wildlife garden is developing.

There are three wildlife areas on plot 103, each of which combines wildlife friendly perennials with native flowers and some early and late season flowers that aren’t necessarily native but that provide pollen and nectar when there’s little else around. One area is under the elder tree on our east boundary. The tree is on our neighbour’s land so we have to live with it, but as with most elders, nothing much will live under it! I’m sowing wildflower seed and some purchased alliums on the basis that the soil is useless for anything else but an elder is a relatively good wildlife habitat so I can at least boost the diversity of the little area by offering a range of foodstuffs etc.

The area around our pear trees at the top of the plot will also become a wildlife area: it’s quite good soil but has to cope with us using the shed and the celestial potting shed, and the water butt that is attached to those structures, so there’s a lot of footfall and water spillage going on. We’ll have more of a wetland area up there, with limnanthes planted around the water butt itself and a range of native plants around and between the two trees – the plants will be chose for the tolerance to being trodden on and scythed down!

And the pond is the real wildlife garden – OH was working hard at clearing this area on Sunday and has removed a lot of the rubbishy stuff: intertwined ivy and crocosmia for example, so that we can plant a more complex and diverse range. In the metre of ground between the pond (old bath, really) and the hedge there was nothing but ivy and nettles – now we’ll add all kinds of interesting plants: fennel and woad for height, woodruff and goat’s beard on the shady side, borage and gentians on the sunny one … it will look wonderful one day, and already it looks better, if you ask me!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, August 15, 2011

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