Next to the building, we have a wonderful wildlife garden, which is managed by volunteers.
Garden and pond
Our wildlife garden is a wonderful mix of habitats – a wildflower garden, a bog area and a pond – and it's developed over many years. A living willow screen on one side acts as a pedestrian barrier while still allowing you to see in. Hazel and willow ‘hurdles’ create another boundary. The pond that had been in place for many years had a damaged pond liner so a new pond was created and left while pond life transferred from the old pond. The old pond was then made into a bog garden with lots of habitat piles to give overwintering insects and newts a place to hide, giving them protection from birds.
Wildflowers in the garden
Our garden was sown with a 'pictorial meadows' mix of wildflowers suitable for our sandy clay loam soil. Since the seeds germinated, the garden has been left to grow naturally – except during really dry spells when we irrigate the area. The garden is now a wonderful habitat for bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and seed-eating birds, such as finches.
Over the years, some species have found their way into the wildlife garden naturally from the surrounding locality. These are important in supporting the insect and bird life, so we have left these in situ. Teasel, Sorrel and Nettles make lots of seeds that feed the birds in the winter months. Others were sown to increase the species richness. We chose a mix of flowers that included single petal flowers like Calendula and Cosmos and umbelliferae such as Fennel and Wild Carrot, which have umbrella-like flowers and are good for pollen feeding insects.