Tips to help you establish a great Wild Garden
This is a guest post written by Laura Anstiss of Oakmore Green.
I’m delighted to introduce Laura to you. Laura has a wonderful enthusiasm for Wild Gardens and masses of experience to help you get the most from your own garden.
If you’ve been watching TV nature and gardening programmes lately, you’ll have seen a lot of interest in wild gardens. There are many advantages to wild gardens: they cover the ground in a beautiful mix of usually native or eco-friendly wildflowers, grasses, trees and shrubs; they provide a banquet of nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies and many other insects.
Public interest in wild gardens and sustainable landscapes is at an all-time high. There is a recognition throughout the landscape industries that more needs to be done in the establishment of biodiverse areas and green amenity spaces.
A wild garden can carry a variety of definitions. For some, it means limiting the amount you maintain your plants, letting them become what others might define as overgrown and unsightly. Others might associate wild with the types of plants you choose for your space. If you think about your walks in the fields or forests where Mother Nature is the only landscaper, plants are “overgrown and unsightly” around every corner. So, it might be time to change your definition of what makes a desirable garden space. The idea of a wild garden is to create a more naturally flowing space with less rigid lines and rules.
Wild gardens make the connection between the wild countryside that surrounds us and our gardens. This is more important than we think wildlife is always on the move, and gardens that offer a mix of flowers, shrubs and trees can provide a rich source of food and shelter as well as a safe nesting site for birds.
With the massive industrialisation, intensive agriculture, and expansion of urban areas that have occurred in the UK since the 1950s, we have lost 96% of the wild meadows which once dotted the landscape.
While this is difficult to remedy due to the demands associated with an ever-increasing population, there are steps we can take to address the issue locally. One of the best (and easiest) options is to cultivate a wild garden. With a little bit of work, you can turn your garden into a haven for a variety of insects and wildlife.
What makes a wild garden?
In general, everything has a place in a wild garden, which is intended to develop naturally whether it’s wildflowers, herbs or diverse wildlife. The colour and variety of the blossoms to be found there are typical for a wild garden. Dandelions, ground elder (contained), daises or St John’s wort any plant can be grown in this garden. Depending on the soil and light conditions in your garden, certain specifically designed combinations of meadow flowers are available to buy that will transform your garden into a colourful field of flowers.
When selecting a combination of flowers, you can decide for yourself how much grass should grow between them. Seeds that already contain wild herbs ensure a particularly diverse garden. Wildflowers often prefer nutrient-poor, dry soil in a sunny location.
You should provide plenty of space for birds to raise their young so that you can enjoy birdsong throughout your garden. If you feed the birds in your garden all year round, you will attract birds that will help deter insect pests and you will also be helping young birds in the process. By planting a variety of hedges, bushes and trees, you can offer a welcoming spot for birds to build a nest and breed. It’s not just the birds that will delight in bushes of wild strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in the autumn there will be a delicious treat for everyone else too.
Don’t be fooled a wild garden is no less labour-intensive than a garden laid out in a strictly organised way. A semi-natural garden simply follows a different kind of organisation. To make sure your garden doesn’t become too overgrown, it must be tended to from time to time. This garden rewards its owner with a very special kind of charm a natural character designed by a gardener’s caring hand.
Increasing the biodiversity of your garden doesn’t have to be hard, or compromise the way it looks. Whether its bees, bugs or birds, we all know that wildlife has a positive effect on our gardens.
However big or small your garden is, there are plenty of changes you can make to ensure that it is an attractive location for all manner of wildlife. Simple things such as choosing wildlife-friendly plants and leaving dead flower heads as food for birds in the winter can make a difference. Here are some small things you can do today to create a garden positively thriving with life:
- Plant flowers for bees
- Set up a log pile
- Provide food for birds
- Create a ‘pond’ or birdbath
- Provide a home for birds and bats
- Plant native and eco-friendly plants
Many gardeners like to cut down all their fading border perennials but I try to keep as many seed heads as I can.
A successful wild garden provides three things: food, water and shelter. It is very important that these ingredients are available throughout the year. Food and shelter can be supplied by the proper selection of plants. A birdbath or small pool can be a water supply.
Food and cover should be provided at a variety of levels. The habitat should include a selection of grass, flowers, shrubs, small trees and large trees. This will be attractive to more wildlife species.
Plants that are native to your area are going to grow the best. Careful selection of your plants, in the beginning, will allow for a worry-free space as your garden grows. Talk to the local nursery owner. Stop by the garden centre.
Be sure to allow for the maximum growth of the plants, so you don’t have to continually trim them back. In addition to low-effort growing success, native plants also do not require chemicals to fight off insects and disease. Plus, they often don’t need fertiliser, because they are naturally suited for the native soil.
You can even source your native plants directly from nature by selecting seeds or small plants. Check with your local authorities before harvesting from forests or other areas. If nothing else, observe the plants in your area and purchase the same type of ferns or wildflowers that you see growing naturally.
The goal of creating a wild garden doesn’t mean you have to have a completely untamed space of rambling branches and invasive blackberries. Instead, segment your garden into areas that provide for the naturally wild look combined with more traditional or formal spaces for sitting or strolling. Bring in the pristine garden if that is your thing, and mingle it with some wild plants. Manicure the stone patio, but allow the bushes behind the arbour to go wild.
The point is that wild doesn’t have to be neglected. Simply work the look into your design.
The prospect of providing food and shelter to a variety of wildlife is exciting. Take a photo every year from the same location in your garden, to record how your wild garden develops. Keep records of the wildlife attracted to your landscape and see how this changes over the years.
Not only will you have benefited our environment and wildlife, but you will also have provided for your enjoyment for years to come.
Laura Anstiss of Oakmore Green
Making the most of your property
Would you like us to send you a quick email when we publish our next article?
These will include tips and advice on how maximum your enjoyment and return on investement from you property.
Other Recent ArticlesView all
Should I put my house on the market before Christmas?
We get asked this every year in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This year’s answer might surprise you.Find out more
Gold award from our clients
Our estate agents team have been awarded Gold for the Best Agent in Ashford by allAgents.co.ukFind out more
Should I buy a house in a Conservation Area?
There are some wonderful properties in the Conservation Areas in Kent and East Sussex but buyers need to make sure they understand the strict planning rules designed to preserve the character of these locations.Find out more
How I nearly made a pig's ear of selling my own house
Have you ever asked for advice and then ignored it? I guess we all have. Hobbs Parker was founded by my great-great-great-grandfather in 1850. My Dad worked here for 42 years and I’ve been working […]Find out more
Post Stamp Duty Holiday: What next for the property market?
When Rishi Sunak announced a temporary Stamp Duty holiday on July 8th 2020 to counter the effects of the Pandemic, homebuyers celebrated the chance to save on buying costs. Was he right to do it? […]Find out more
Wye - Kent's Super Village
So what is it about the village of Wye that creates it’s extraordinary reputation? Unlike many villages in my part of Kent that are equally as pretty and have local facilities, it has a selection […]Find out more
Millie Green - A Review of Ashford
The Kentish town of Ashford is known for many things: the International Station, the Designer Outlet and a plethora of secondary schools. These are all great assets to the town, but at Hobbs Parker we […]Find out more
Stamp Duty Savings - are you buying a house with an Annexe?
“We sell many homes with accommodation that is separate to the principal home but very few buyers are aware of the Stamp Duty savings they may be entitled to.” Alex DaviesFind out more
Very small ski chalet for sale!
It's tempting to take snowing photos of your home when selling it. But is this a good idea?Find out more
How many Ashfords are there in the UK?
Our website contains a database of all the villages, towns and cities in the UK. We combined this data with Google Maps to created this interactive map of all the Ashfords in the UK.Find out more
The 50 Most Popular Villages
Our website is very busy — every day up to 6,000 people visit our website. Many are researching the ideal location for their next home and spend some time reading about the towns and villages […]Find out more
Tips to help you establish a great Wild Garden
If you’ve been watching TV nature and gardening programmes lately, you’ll have seen a lot of interest in wild gardens. There are many advantages to wild gardens: they cover the ground in a beautiful mix […]Find out more
Five Predictions for the Local Property Market in 2021
2020 was a tumultuous year for Hobbs Parker with our estate agency business up by 25% breaking all previous records. Despite the gloomy start to 2021, with further lockdown measures introduced, I anticipate sustained activity […]Find out more
Tips for buyers and sellers when dealing with properties from a bygone era
The first clue upon arrival is the general look of neglect. Tired net curtains hanging at the windows, peeling paintwork, stains from a leaking gutter, a rusty gate opening on to an entrance path overgrown […]Find out more
The 'Race for Space' and house price inflation in 2020
Are rising house prices about more than just the normal supply and demand? With so much talk of the Covid crisis, it’s almost possible to forget about the numerous economic hurdles that affect house prices. […]Find out more
Why Rishi cannot claim all the credit!
What a strange world we live in when sales of houses are going through the roof against a background of a global pandemic. Whilst the Stamp Duty holiday is welcome, this was happening before the […]Find out more
Stamp Duty cut has immediate impact!
The temporary cut is with immediate effect and therefore reduces the cost of a property purchase straight away saving an average of £4,500 for residential property buyers providing they take advantage of it before the holiday comes […]Find out more
Will Netflix and Amazon affect property prices in Ashford?
There has been talk of an Ashford metamorphosis for almost as long as I can remember. The opening of the ‘Missing Link’ of the M20 motorway between Ashford and Maidstone in 1991 would surely bring […]Find out more
Might Estate Agents open first to help rebuild the economy?
A recommendation is reported to have been made in a report written for the Government by Conservative peer Lord Gadhia and Sir Jonathan Symonds, chairman of GlaxoSmithKline. Along with coffee shops and restaurants, Estate Agents […]Find out more
Do virtual tours and viewings work?
While lockdown and movement restrictions mean that buyers are prevented from physically viewing homes for sale, evidence suggests that many buyers are spending more time on property websites and portals to pass the time and […]Find out more
Post-Coronavirus property market predictions
Savills research team recently offered some interesting analysis of what a UK property market recovery could look like post-Coronavirus predicting transaction volumes could be down by up to 45% for 2020 with the greatest impact […]Find out more
Bucking the national property 'downturn'
It is true that we agreed 35 sales during October which we think are good results by anyone’s standards but I can tell you it doesn’t come easily and not without a lot of hard […]Find out more
Why 2019 is the right time to invest in Ashford
“If you have ever wished you’d invested somewhere that has regenerated, you will know that you are already too late.” These are the words of Alex Davies, Managing Director for Hobbs Parker Estate Agents, an […]Find out more
How do you get the best price for your house?
How do you get the best price for your house? Answer: When you put your house on the market for the first time make sure it is at the correct market value — do not be tempted to ask for […]Find out more
Historic Property Auction Particulars -- Mersham 1878
These have been hanging on the wall in our boardroom for as long as I can remember. I recently happened to ‘bump into’ two of the current owners of the cottages when I gave a […]Find out more
Listed Buildings Advice
The market for period property is booming and the older the house or cottage, the more likely it is to be listed. By listing a property, it celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic features […]Find out more
Will your second home also be your pension?
Recent research suggests that the level of income people aspire to retire on each year has increased from £35,000 to £42,000 yet this would require a pension pot of more than £1 million. Evidence shows […]Find out more
Will solar panels increase the value of my home?
As the weather gets colder and darker, and the heating and lights stay on longer, there’s one thing I can predict with even more certainty than the Queen’s Speech broadcasting on Christmas Day. The arrival […]Find out more
Why do kitchens sell houses?
The party is in the kitchen! When we have a party at our house my wife and I spend hours making our living room look nice and then most of the evening trying to get […]Find out more