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Project Wildlife Pockets: The Memorial Wildlife Garden

If you made it through my last ‘lengthily’ blog post (well done) you’ll know that I am currently developing the redundant areas on site to make them more visitor and wildlife friendly. With the Wildlife Fairy Garden underway, it was time to start tackling what I call the Wildlife Memorial Garden; It has a memorial tree planted in its centre.

Its a small fenced off area that quite frankly just looked a mess. There was a huge grass plant blocking the entrance, a shabby excuse of a bug hotel and a poorly placed Fatsia japonica. Despite this, It oozed potential that wasn’t being explored…until now.

The first task at hand was to move the bug hotel forward to allow for digging up the Fatsia japonica, in order to move it to a more spacious environment to thrive. I decided to keep it simple and just move the bug hotel forward rather than relocating it completely. Cue the digging over the ground and levelling it our ready for its repositioning. The ground in the memorial garden is FAR softer than that in the wildlife fairy garden, so it didn’t take long at all. With the bug hotel repositioned we got to work removing the Fatsia japonica. This left plenty of room to work around the bug hotel to filli it with the natural material it was very much lacking. You wouldn’t have found any snug bugs in there; I can assure you of that!

The beauty of bug hotels is that they are

A) Super inexpensive to make

B) Super easy to make

C) A wonderfully efficient ‘mess’ at providing shelter to all things….well small

After a good mooch around the yard (which at this point I’ve come to realise is like pandoras box) I found a pile of dried out branches screaming to be put to good use. Thanks to some of our wonderful volunteers these branches were soon turned into bug hotel sized twiglets. I also found a pile of broken bricks, pots and concrete in the yard. Believe it or not, materials such as these can also be used alongside the natural materials to create perfect creepy crawly crevices. It took three sessions to completely fill and finish off the bug hotel, ready for its new guests to check in.

The next mammoth task was removing the huge grass that was making it difficult to access the area. Thankfully my colleague made light work of it and was able to replant it by our picnic area. I initially wanted to keep the grass in the space, however they grow SO big that foresight made me realise it would be impractical to keep it there alongside the other one. The extra space should now allow the smaller grass to fill out nicely without getting in the way of those wishing to enter the garden. I know some people aren’t a fan of them, but I remember having several in my garden as a child and they were teeming with life especially at dusk. Hence why I decided to keep the smaller grass in its place.

The memorial tree was of course staying put, but it needed a little TLC by way of support. Thankfully nothing a wooden stake couldn’t fix! The aim is to encourage its upward growth with the use of stakes, to the point where hopefully its posture is rectified whereby support is no longer needed.

The memorial tree is still visited and adorned with bouquets of flowers. Whilst I am keen to turn the area into a little wild patch, I wanted to increase and maintain the accessibility to the tree for its visitors. I liked the idea of a rustic, steppingstone path so you can guess where I began looking…. Yepp, the yard. Lowe and behold I found the perfect slabs for the job. Before laying the path we had to dig up some of the plants that had sporadically rooted such as butter cup. They were replanted at the base of the bug hotel with hopes of their survival. Once the ground had been dug over and levelled off, the slabs went down and our path had been formed. The last task at hand was to scatter some wildflower seed over the bare patches of ground.

With that our second wildlife patch is now well underway. You may notice a big wooden frame in the pictures. This was previously used as a bird feeding station which I’m keen to utilise again. There is also a large space available now at the back of the bug hotel which would like to get filled, perhaps with a cluster of foxgloves. That still needs to be finalised, as does the Introduction of teasel to the area (one of my favourite plants), but all in all the bulk of the work has been complete and I can’t wait to see it flourish!

I will share any updates on this space in a separate post, but of course the work never stops and it’s time to move on to the biggest area yet! I’m so excited about this next space because there is so much to be done to improve it. I also just want to give a quick shout out to everyone who has so far got stuck in with my project and helped out whether it be digging over dirt, moving rocks or breaking branches. Many hands make light work and a really enjoyable working environment at that too!

Happy Wilding

Meg x



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