How the St Ives garden has grown…

St Ives rear garden

Work on the St Ives back garden has been going great guns. Different species often have different requirements from their habitat and with the six habitats we have in our garden flourishing, we hope that the varied range of insects and birds we are already seeing will increase as time goes on.

The woodland has made use of an existing mature hawthorn and we have added silver birch, rowan, hazel and many more to this area. It is underplanted spring bulbs and a number of other shade tolerant plants including bugle, and yellow archangel. A hedgehog home has been added to the edge of the woodland and small gaps under the perimeter fence have been left for these animals to come and go.

The hedgerow is progressing well and will include hazel, dogwood and spindle which are already found in the garden and fits well in to this habitat. Hedgerow plants such as cow parsley, red campion, and hedge garlic have been added to give the hedge a natural base which can be used by a variety of insects and small mammals.

The meadow contains a variety of herbaceous plants which were once found throughout the grasslands of Cambridgeshire.

Creating the pond

Construction of the pond

The pond margins have been planted with a variety of native plants such as kingcup, water forget-me-not, purple loosestrife and rushes.

The Pond has been seeded with the native aquatic hornwort from a local pond known to be rich in wildlife. It has also been planted with a smaller variety water lily so not to overcrowd the pond. It provides birds with a variety of bathing places. The waterfall is an attractive feature which aerates, filters and circulates the water. Small areas have been sectioned off to allow frogs, toads and newts to breed in the pond.

In the short time the pond has been created we have already recorded water boatmen along with diving beetles, dragonflies and damsel flies have been visiting

The garden area has been planted with a variety of herbaceous perennial plants known to be good for butterflies. Some British natives have also been included in this border where they are known to provide nectar or seed heads known to be good for wildlife.

The vegetable garden has a shed and a greenhouse which was destined for the tip but we rescued for our garden. Three large raised beds allow for crop rotation and since its creation in June the beds have provided, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas and beetroot to those who have been tending them. Cabbages, sprouting broccoli and kale have been providing the local cabbage white population with food despite our best efforts to keep them caterpillar free but a good crop of parsnips is expected.

A wide selection of fruit bushes have been planted around the perimeter of the vegetable garden which will help screen off this area from the rest of the garden. Grape vines, blackberry and Tayberry are all growing well on the trellis and raspberries will be grown around the outside edge of the kitchen garden. Red currants, white currants and gooseberry will add to the shelter and screen around this area.

Sunshine, shelter and sustenance are the basic nuts and bolts for a good wildlife garden. This garden has all of these features. There are foodplants for nine species of butterfly known to visit local gardens and nectar will be available to bees and butterflies throughout the year. Bird, bat and bumble bee boxes, and the hedgehog home will provide shelter for these increasingly threatened but well loved members of the British fauna. It is our hope that the rich biodiversity of this garden will provide a safe and productive haven for wildlife for many years to come.

Read more about the garden and how you can encourage biodiversity into your garden from the Biodiversity page

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