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New House new garden.

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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2006, 17:56   #1
beaker
Andy Firth

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: cheshire
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New House new garden.

In October 2004 my family and I moved to a house in Crewe Cheshire,which I know sounds the least inspiring quote of all time.Importantly however the garden backs onto open farmland and has native hawthorn hedging as a boundary at the bottom. I thought I would share my successes and failures in the first year of gardening exclusively for wildlife.
It quickly became clear much of the existing planting was very pretty but of no value to wildlife and therefore was immediately removed.As the garden faces East it was clear that this garden could never be a mass of sun loving plants.My first project was to plant a native hedgerow down one side of the garden.I planted pot grown plants of hawthorn,blackthorn,hazel,guelder rose,dog rose and field rose.
After reading books on the subject of food plants for butterflies,bees and moths I planted verbena ,buddlea,lavendar,hebe,marjoram,foxgloves,rosemary ,sedum,cowslip,red valerian and hyssop, in two borders I dug out to extend existing borders.I also planted three native honeysuckles and a small crab apple tree. Water wasn't an issue as a small brook runs through the bottom of the garden.
I put up two bird tables and eight peanut and sunflower heart feeders.Other food put out regularly includes sultanas,raisons and fat.

BIRDS SEEN IN THE GARDEN YEAR ONE.
Sparrowhawk
Pheasant
Tawny Owl
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Dunnock
Robin
Blackbird
Fieldfare
Redwing
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Blackcap
Chiffchaff
Goldcrest
Long Tailed Tit
Coal Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Nuthatch
Treecreeper
Jay
Magpie
Carrion Crow
Starling
House Sparrow
Tree Sparrow
Chaffinch
Greenfinch
Goldfinch
Siskin
Redpoll
Bullfinch
Yellowhammer
Reed Bunting

I have also put up five nestboxes and an insect box.I have made a log pile at the bottom of the garden.Many of the birds listed have used the garden just "in passing" but have landed in the garden so are included.
Of the plants verbena bonariensis is superb, it flowers for months and I saw at least eight species of butterfly and a superb hummingbird hawkmoth using it.Unfortunately because the garden faces East many of my nectar plants never really performed as the sun fell on them for only a few hours a day.
The hedgerow is a slight problem as some of the plants grow much more quickly than others so I have had to prune quite harshly after year one.Without doubt sunflower hearts are the number one supplied food attracting everything from blackcaps through to siskins.The garden only measures roughly 20x10 metres so I am restricted to what can be planted.I have tried the commercial cat deterrents and they don't work so I just live with the odd Goldfinch or Tree Sparrow casualty with a mixture of anger and resignation.Squirrels are also tolerated as again I find them impossible to stop.
Any advice of areas I could improve or new planting ideas would be gladly received especially nectar plants for shady areas and suitable plants for containers.


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Old Wednesday 4th January 2006, 02:28   #2
GDC
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Sounds like you have a very good location for the garden you have developed. My spot is certainly more urban and probably couldn't be that nice. I was wondering if you had the names of books or a web site that could help me create my garden.
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Old Wednesday 4th January 2006, 16:11   #3
beaker
Andy Firth

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GDC
Sounds like you have a very good location for the garden you have developed. My spot is certainly more urban and probably couldn't be that nice. I was wondering if you had the names of books or a web site that could help me create my garden.

Regarding books on wildlife gardening I often referred to the following:-

How To Make A Wildlife Gard------Baines--------ISBN 0 7112 1711 4
The Butterfly Garden-------------Tekulsky------ISBN 0-916782-69-7
Wildlife Friendly Plants------------Creeser-------ISBN 1-84340-093-6
Wildlife Gardening-----------------Ryrie---------ISBN 1-84403-035-0
The Butterfly Gardener------------Rothschild----ISBN 0-7181-2627-0

An inspirational website in more ways than one can be found at http://www.butterflygarden.co.uk/.
I appreciate these references may be biased towards gardening in Britain but I am sure you will find some ideas to help you go forward.All the best.

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Old Sunday 5th February 2006, 12:11   #4
roosmum
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Hi Andy, your garden sounds fantastic. I'm especially envious of your brook and the hawthorn hedge!
You asked about other nectar plants and I would strongly recommend mahonia. It's in flower now and mine has had bees on it since before Christmas, birds peck insects off it and apparently some like to the drink the nectar although I've not seen them. It also produces small black berries which blackbirds love.
Two flowers I've thought of are the native primrose, which is happy in shade and lesser knapweed which attracts hoverflies and butterflies.
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Old Sunday 5th February 2006, 15:17   #5
beaker
Andy Firth

 
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Originally Posted by roosmum
Hi Andy, your garden sounds fantastic. I'm especially envious of your brook and the hawthorn hedge!
You asked about other nectar plants and I would strongly recommend mahonia. It's in flower now and mine has had bees on it since before Christmas, birds peck insects off it and apparently some like to the drink the nectar although I've not seen them. It also produces small black berries which blackbirds love.
Two flowers I've thought of are the native primrose, which is happy in shade and lesser knapweed which attracts hoverflies and butterflies.

Thanks for that Roosmum you must be a mind reader I have just planted a Mahonia but have also just realised they can grow quite large so it may have to be moved in a few years as the situation I have planted it in is limited in space for it to to spread.
I will keep an eye out for your other planting suggestions as I am determined to make the garden as wildlife friendly as I can.

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