Making my patch wildlife friendly
As this site is all about nature gardens, I thought I would give you a guided tour around ours! We have been living at our current address since August 2015. When we moved in the garden was pretty much a mess and in some areas still is. I regret we didn't take any photographs at the time to show the progress we have made. There was rubble all over, an old toilet, and lots of rubbish (plastic/paper) just under the grass of our little Eden.
Our garden is about 25 metres long and 10 metres wide. We have a concreted area just outside the back door and a path leading half way up the lawn (more weeds then grass!). Along the left hand side I dug a new bed last spring and at the back is the main planting and nature area, which was again dug last year. As we love birds we soon got a bird feeder tree and I made a bird table. Over the following months we have slowly added until what we have today.
The garden is an on going project and will develop over the coming year. Have a look below at the plan and the different areas!
Zone 1 is where we first got started trying to attract birds to our garden. It now consists of a bird table my dad made, a ground feeder and a bird bath. We normally have a peanut feeder, sunflower hearts, general feeder and some kind of fat balls. The ground feeder has a general feed and we normally sprinkle on a few mealworms. As well as attracting our winged friends this area provided the highlight of 2015. When I first set up the camera trap I was hoping to capture a possible sparrow hawk. Instead the night camera kicked in and showed we were attracting hedgehogs!!!
This zone consists of the rockery, and the recently purchased hog house. The rockery was one of the first things I did, when I really got stuck into the bottom end of the garden. I didn't bring back the 70s out of choice, but as I was digging the back section there was so much rubble, I just started piling it up. After a while I thought I put some soil on top and turn it into a rockery. It is planted with a few heathers and ivys. I am really happy with the progress it's making. Hopefully the hog house will get a visitor or two in the upcoming year. The area was extended in the Spring of 2017 to create a mini cornfield. It includes poppies, cornflowers and foxgloves.
Zone 3 is where a lot of the action takes place ... the bird table! I originally made a table which fell apart, I then had grand plans before finding a reasonably priced and easy to construct version at Wilkos. Dunnocks and blackbirds which visit the garden are predominantly found here, but all the different types of birds that come to dine can be observed in this zone. The feeders normally consist of peanuts, sunflower seeds and hearts.
Although small, this area has a lot going on! It includes a new enlarged frog house based on last years design (see the blog post if you fancy making your own!), a newly sited container pond based on an example shown on Winter Watch, an insect house and a log pile. In this zone, we attract a range of insects and amphibians. This area is also pretty damp and there is often a frog hoping around, sometimes having a rest in the clay house. This area has a camera trap watching out for any interesting behaviour.
Zone 5 is the concrete patio area. Although it may not be the most exciting and inspiring area for nature, the pots do attract a number of insects including ants, woodlice and slugs. We have also added a bird box to the house wall. This one contains a video camera, so hopefully we will be getting some nesting action over the next few months. This year, we have added a herb garden, which is already attracting lots of bees. On the other side of our concrete slab, I have created the hedgehog viewing area which is happily getting lots of hog action!
The final zone runs along the side of the garden. I dug this bed after our neighbours replaced the fence. Last summer we grew about ten sunflowers including a multi-headed species which was fantastic and we will hopefully be doing the same again this year. In the autumn, I planted a number of shrubs and homed Gnorbet the Gnome (a present given to me when I was about five). The area attracted a high number slugs last year which enjoyed eating the sunflowers! We have also added another bird box which was a kind gift.
We are lucky to have lots of bird and insect boxes, a number of which were Christmas presents! We have three regular boxes, one of which has a video camera as mentioned above. We also have a robin box and an insect house. Hopefully over the coming spring we will have a few families making their homes!