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Nature garden

(13 Posts)
AGnu Thu 13-Jun-19 11:55:29

I've got a strip about 2x7m which is currently mostly lawn which I'd like to turn into a nature area. Trouble is, I'm basically clueless! grin I've been doing a bit of research & I'm wondering whether it would be possible to grow a hazel tree & a blackthorn next to each other with a dog rose to climb through them? I think hazel & blackthorn are both controllable, aren't they? We have a path in daily use next to the patch so it'd need to be kept under control.

Ideally I'd like to use 1/2-2/3 of the space for the big bushes & the rest for a mini pond & some wild flowers. Is this going to be enough space for that? Any suggestions for other plants I could grow as well/instead? I chose hazel/blackthorn because they'd produce useful things for me, as well as the animals but happy to change them if there's something that would be better.

ComeBackBarack Thu 13-Jun-19 12:00:30

Hawthorn and Blackthorn are both, well, thorny... So if it's next to a path you might want to factor that in!

You could plant an ash tree - which the birds would love and under plant that.

Which direction does it face - is it sunny all the day? dry and shady or wet and shady - all that would be useful to know.

plants that will work in shade won't be happy in full sun and vice versa.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 13-Jun-19 12:40:06

You can get a free advice leaflet from the RSPB, that might be helpful.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/welcome-wildlife-to-your-garden/

Nicasia Thu 13-Jun-19 13:07:19

On the BBC there is an episode of The Great British Garden Revival on wildlife gardens (series 2 episode 10), there might be some good ideas there.

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Jun-19 13:11:13

A rowan tree is lovely, birds love it, it has lovely colours in the autumn, and it's not too big so could be easily controlled. Or an acer , they both like clayey\acid soil though

GarethSouthgatesWaistcoat Thu 13-Jun-19 13:26:41

Does it have a wall or fence at the back? My pyracantha is very popular with bees and the birds like the berries in winter.

I have lots of little log piles in my wildlife area. Small terracotta pots half buried on their side are supposed to provide good habitat for frogs and toads.

If you make a wildlife pond ensure there is a ramp for hedgehogs etc to get out!

Scabious and erysimum Bowles Mauve are popular with pollinators.

Beebumble2 Thu 13-Jun-19 13:56:13

I’d second a Roman ( mountain ash) tree. Lovely bee friendly blossom and beautiful berries for the birds. They don’t grow too tall and are elegantly easily controlled.
As for under planting, bees and other insects love open flowered plants such as Cranesbill geraniums, which are easy to maintain. If you’ve a sunny spot, bees also love lavender.
The RHS website also has wild life friendly garden advice .

rollingpine Thu 13-Jun-19 13:59:53

No, don't plant an ash tree, they get gigantic.

A rowan tree would be good, but try and get a native one rather than a cultivated garden centre variety.

ComeBackBarack Thu 13-Jun-19 14:05:35

I meant rowan (mountain ash) not an ash tree!

Beebumble2 Thu 13-Jun-19 15:58:21

Just re read my post, don’t know where the Roman came from! Obvs I meant Rowan , although they might be as old as Roman times. I second getting the native one, with the red berries.
They used to be planted at cottage gates to ward off evil spirits.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 13-Jun-19 16:03:12

Another thing which can grow on a shady fence is ivy, if left to get thick and 'arboreal' it provides nesting sites for blackbirds and the flowers are a good source of pollen late into autumn.

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Jun-19 18:12:03

Oh yes Errol I love ivy, it's my ground coverer, the hedgehogs love it's shade.

MereDintofPandiculation Fri 14-Jun-19 11:11:51

If you want a a native rowan, Sorbus aucuparia is what you're looking for. You could consider a crab apple instead of the blackthorn - you won't get the sloe gin, but crab apple jelly is lovely with meat or cheese. Of course rowan and crab apples are small trees rather than bushes, so no use if you wanted bushes. On the other hand, trees allow you to underplant.

A dog rose is lovely, but you could think instead of a cultivated blackberry or one of the crosses, like loganberry - the flowers are really attractive to bumble bees, and you would get the fruit. Or Rosa rugosa - a bit "municipal planting", but lovely flowers, and the greenfinches like the flesh of the huge hips.

Important for the pond is to have damp vegetation around part of it, about 20cm high, for newly emerging frogs to forage. My alpine strawberry beds used to be full of tiny frogs. (Now we have newts -two species - so I'm short of frogs).

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