If you are on Facebook, you might have noticed several posts offering seedlings and plants from the wildlife plot for anyone to take. My plots run alongside the Wildlife Plot and for 15+ years, I have watched the Wildlife Trust plant, weed, create and develop the garden into what it is today: A small pond, a large flower border, bug hotels, apple trees and others, compost heaps, wood piles, seating, a willow arbor and much, much more. So it was sad news to hear that they were no longer able to continue working with the plot and were stopping. 

 

I contacted the committee and said that if they wanted the plot to stay as a wildlife plot, I would be willing to look after it. We already have the communal plot that needs volunteers so I wasn't sure that just asking for volunteers would ensure that all the work that needs doing on the wildlife plot would get done. They said 'Yes', and so I find myself doing just that.  The plot must be kept as a wildlife plot and I won't make any large changes to it without discussing with the committee what I want to do.  We also agreed that the plot could still be used as it was. Anyone from the allotments can visit it, sit in it and generally enjoy the wildlife or even some work in it.

Verbena bonariensis 

I have been reading about and studying Permaculture for some time, practising it in my garden and so would like to manage the plot following their principles. It is nothing that allotmenteers would be surprised to hear about; produce no waste, obtain a yield, observe and interact to name three of the 12 principles with the 3 ethics - care for the planet, care for people and fair shares.  If you would like to read more about it, this article is a good starting point.

The first thing I did was to have a look at what was flowering, fruiting and seeding just to see what there was available to wildlife and I will do this every month. I also need to see what wildlife there is but I am not yet quite sure how to do that and I am not very good at identifying butterflies etc yet.

Flowers - Verbena bonariensis, evening primrose, Heliotelephium 'Autumn Joy' or sedum as I used to know it, campanula, geranium (I think it is Ann Folkard), solidago and purple toadflax. Some of the grasses are flowering too but I don't know all their names yet.

Berries/fruit - Hypericum (St John's Wort), Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan honeysuckle), Cotoneaster horizontalis, Euonymus (alata I think), and hawthorn. A cooking and eating apple but I don't know what sort.

Seeds - Marjoram, Phlomis russeliana (Turkish sage), Acanthus mollis (Bear's breeches) and many of the grasses

My aim is to have more flowers, berries and fruit for wildlife and humans next September and each  month there after.

A couple of the beds were quite empty and because I don't want lots of weeds, I have sowed some phacelia in them. In one bed there were several grasses so I have divided them and spread them out and the bed will become a grasses bed with some other flowers dotted around the bed - verbena bonariensis, echinacea, echiums and cerinthe major purpurescens (honeywort) all of which I have self-seeding in my garden.

I am removing the raspberries from the side bed because I know I don't have the time to manage plants that run and escape everywhere which the raspberries are doing. Like all raspberry beds (or is it just mine?) there is a lot of bindweed and so I need to deal with it before I replant.  I will do that with a mulch and covering.  The fair share ethic is what drove me to offer the sempervivum, raspberries and grasses to anyone who would like them. I have been offered a fan-trained cooking cherry so that will go in this bed eventually.

  

Unfortunately, the pond liner has a leak. I have filled the pond on two separate evenings and each time the next morning the water had gone down about 10cms so it isn't evaporating.  To sort that out is quite a big job and it will have to wait. 

I have pruned the cooking apple tree as it hadn't been done for 3 or 4 years. There were a lot of clippings and they weren't small so I took them home, shredded them and brought them back to be used on the paths or wherever needed. It was fairly brutal haircut so the tree may not fruit next year but it has opened the area up and let in a bit more light.

I don't know how much time the garden needs each month to keep it in at least the shape it is in now and whether it will be too much for me, but I am prepared to give it a go.

If there is anyone out there who would like to do a bit of work in the wildlife garden, I would be delighted. You can contact me and come down when I go there to work on it, or you can just go down and work in it without me.  The paths need weeding, especially the one next to the fence so do please feel free to do so.

 

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