Gardening with wildlife in mind


This month Gardening Gone Wild has asked whether we considered wildlife when we designed out gardens.  Well the answer in my case is yes

The first priority for me when I acquired this garden and started to cultivate it about 4 years ago was a wildlife pond.  Removing a ridiculously large conifer conveniently left a substantial hole which we enlarged to make the pond.  It is constantly being used by the birds.  There is a gravel beach and the pigeon in particular like to strut down this for a quick dip in the water. Last month I worked really hard on improving the edges.  This has been a constant problem since the pond went in – mainly because of the wildlife.  The local Crows and Magpies loved the turf I used for edging the pond as it was wet and muddy and they took it for their nests.  Hopefully the new combination of old logs, rocks and turf will do the trick.  The rocks should definately provide hiding places for various frogs etc and maybe the slow worm I saw last summer will reappear.  


Some people have said that they have adopted a slow form of gardening and this is more beneficial to wildlife as the garden isnt prestine.  Well I have so little time to garden that it appears as though I ‘slow’ garden.  The border above looks a little bare as I cleared it out when I was sorting out the pond edges. I am constantly trying to keep on top of the garden so there is always at least one if not more areas which are a mess but the wildlife are loving.

The bank behind the pond was only cleared of a large Laurel last summer.  I am planting the sunny bit up with lots of nectar rich plants for the insects and also teasels for the birds. 

The bird life in my garden is constantly growing and some of them are becoming more and more tame.  Every morning I go out to put some food on the bird table and there is either a Blackbird or a Robin waiting for me. I have posted before about feeding the birds and my ‘bottle tree’ – designed to keep the squirrels off the bird feeders.  Sometimes if I am late the Blackbird sits on the fence outside the kitchen waiting for me, telling me to hurry up.  Today he was stalking me round the garden, collecting worms where ever I had been digging.  As soon as I start working in the garden I seem to have a companion – which is really nice. 

My lawn is far from immaculate being full of moss, daisies and clover – I have given up trying to achieve the perfect lawn.  It is just too much like hard work and I would rather spend the time on something else in the garden.  However a plus side of this disgrace is that the insects love the daises and the clover and I am sure that most of the local birds have used some of the moss for their nests. 


Like most gardeners I have compost bins – 3 at present.  However it seems that how ever many bins I have there isnt enough consequently the top corner of my garden is a mess.  I dont have a shredder so anything too woody for the compost bin goes in a pile but the fence.  My back fence is on a 2ft concrete base which is very unattractive so I have convinced myself that it looks much nicer with the twiggy bits piled up in front of it – plus these provide an excellent home for all sorts of insects and small mammals.  There are normally some small voles and mice living in the garden, particularly in the dry stone wall which sits behind the pond.

So that is my wildlife garden – I cant imagine not gardening without taking into account wildlife.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Barbara says:

    What a sweet little creature. I’ve got my special chipmunk den that was going to be a water feature & now I don’t dare. When I was looking at your brush pile, couldn’t help myself, wondered if you put in a small variety of Japanese maple (if the yellow flower was the centre of the clock then plant it at the seven o’clock pebble). Of course this garden is probably chock-a-block full of plants in a matter of weeks, so just nevermind. Love the idea that the birds keep you to your schedule.

  2. Catherine says:

    I love your pond, and no wonder the birds like your yard! I definitely keep wildlife in mind as I garden. My pond, feeders, plants that attract birds, and butterflies. It’s fun when you get such pretty visitors that enjoy the garden as much as you do.

  3. Alice Joyce says:

    I really enjoyed reading this journey/process of yours. Thanks so much for the post.

  4. It’s great that there is a benefit to our not being able to keep the garden perfectly tidy. (Wildlife makes a great excuse.) Your pond is a great little oasis for critters and a pretty feature for the garden.

  5. Hurrah for people who don’t have the time for perfect lawns and are content for the garden to be a little rough round the edges. Thanks for sharing a bit of your thoughts about the garden, and also for the nice pics.

  6. hayefield says:

    Thanks for sharing this post for the Gardening Gone Wild Design Workshop, Helen. What a great idea to use the hole left by tree removal for your wildlife pond! You’ve certainly made great use of that sloping site.

  7. what a nice job you’re doing in your yard!! You have the added challenge of a steep slope, which it looks as though you’re managing quite well! Compost piles! A girl after my own heart!

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